SOG Group has submitted a planning application to Halton Borough Council in the next step of their ground-breaking proposals to transform The Heath Business and Technical Park into ‘Heath Park’, a 21st century version of Port Sunlight *.
Heath Park evolved from a global competition challenging architects, designers, planners and forward thinkers to create a sustainable futuristic environment, powered by renewable energy, where people can live, work and play.
SOG’s owner and Managing Director John Lewis MBE says: “We now have an extraordinary and visionary scheme to meet the challenges of Climate Change which addresses the predicted trends for future living including employment, housing, leisure, community, transport and energy consumption.
Our masterplan has taken more than three years of meticulous research by SOG’s dedicated team of expert consultants, who have worked with leading academics from Lancaster and Liverpool Universities, to produce an exceptional application to put before the planners.”
Heath Park has been adopted as a Beacon Project by Liverpool City Region and is validated by the UK Government. It is one of 35 ethical projects (only 2 from the North-West and Wales) that feature in the Department for International Trade’s 2022 Global Investment Atlas which aims to attract global investors.
Currently SOG are in discussions with some of the world’s biggest investment and Real Estate organisations as the company seeks to raise the funds necessary to deliver the Heath Park vision at the 57-acre site in Runcorn.
On Friday, Mr Lewis gave Halton’s MP Derek Twigg a briefing on the plan shortly before it was submitted to the Council.
Mr Twigg said it was an exciting and futuristic 21st century development, and ‘really important in terms of the future of Runcorn’. The MP said he was particularly pleased the scheme revolved around best use of technology including its world-leading vertical farming model and the fact the entire site would be powered off the HyNet Hydrogen infrastructure, along with other renewable energy sources.
The Heath Park planning submission is for a mixed-use development on the already established and thriving business and science park. It revolves around a unique residential, business, science, leisure, community and commercial venture, built around sound ecological values, in a Net Zero Carbon environment. Focal to the scheme is a ground-breaking ‘Field of the Future’ Vertical Farm, powered by hydrogen, producing healthy, Net Zero, food for the local community.
The masterplan, created in full consultation with Halton Borough Council’s Planning Department, involves adapting the existing business and science park to include:
- 545 Net Zero homes including 59 senior living and extra care apartments
- Ancillary commercial use including hotel and leisure use
- A 55,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art Vertical Farm powered by hydrogen
- 20,000 sq. ft retail
Mr Lewis adds: “Heath Park is a scheme that meets the challenges of the future through the creation of a sustainable environment where families can live, work and play. The aim is for the site to be powered by 100% hydrogen and other renewable energies. It is a realistic and commercially viable venture with existing buildings to be repurposed alongside the new development, with health, wellbeing, and clean energy central to everything.
“Heath Park is intended to be a vibrant new centre with accessible services including shops, restaurants, bars, leisure, arts and medical facilities that will be complemented by parkland and wooded areas for relaxation and recreation.
“We’re particularly excited by the vertical farming element of our plans where our ‘Field of the Future’ model will see a world-leading Vertical Farm at the heart of the community. This will be powered by hydrogen from the HyNet hydrogen pipeline network, and for the first time realise the aim of producing Net Zero food. This is a genuinely pioneering vertical farming model which evolved from a world-first pilot study undertaken at The Heath by leading academics and industry experts. It promises to revolutionise existing vertical farming technology with a model that can be replicated globally.”
Mr Lewis says the overall masterplan has exceptional social and environmental value designed around a 5-star Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) with outstanding Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) credentials.
The Heath Park project has already triggered interest from some of the world’s biggest investment organisations with enquiries from Japan, China, United States of America, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.
To view Heath Park’s entry in the UK Government Global Investment Atlas go to: Heath Park in Cheshire – great.gov.uk international
* Heath Park’s ethos is modelled on ‘Port Sunlight’, the Victorian village built by industrialist Viscount Leverhulme in the 1800s. Reacting to appalling living conditions at the time, Lord Leverhulme’s inspiring idea created houses and community facilities in a healthy environment for workers of his soap factory.
About SOG Group
SOG Group is one of the UK’s top independent operators of business and science parks and are renowned site regeneration specialists. SOG own The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, Cheshire, which is home to over 120 individual businesses that between them support the employment of around 2,000 people. Using The Heath business model, SOG created a consultancy operation under the name of ‘Fusion’. SOG’s Fusion team spearheaded the regeneration of a massive site in east London, formerly home to a global pharmaceutical company, where it created Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park. Until February 2019, SOG operated Londoneast-uk as a sister Park to The Heath before selling it to a company owned by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Through its Fusion concept, SOG helped to generate over £2 billion of inward investment to the Dagenham site regeneration programme.
SOG’s Runcorn operation is a unique example of how a successful science and technology park should operate. Many of the organisations located in the facilities are at the very cutting-edge of scientific R&D, with firms specialising from nanotechnology to carbon emissions research and from pioneering work on hip and knee joint replacements to water and waste-water treatment technology. As The Heath site has reached full capacity, SOG has embarked on a new build-programme which allows existing fast-growing resident businesses to move out of multi-occupancy units into their own exclusive bespoke buildings, designed and built by SOG’s team. SOG is currently working on the vision to transform The Heath into a Net Zero carbon environment over the next decade through the creation of Heath Park.
Media contact: Paul Smith Associates (PSA) +44 (0) 7771 623 007