Willmott Dixon to build agri-food research facility in Lincolnshire, UK

WCN Editorial Team 24 Mar 2020 EUROPE BUILDINGS

UK-based construction company Willmott Dixon has secured a contract to build University of Lincoln’s agri-food research and development (R&D) facility at Peppermint Park in Holbeach, Lincolnshire.

To be built at cost of £7m, the new Centre of Excellence in Agri-food Technology was procured via Scape Major Works, part of the National Construction Framework. The new facility is expected to be a focal point at Peppermint Park, part of the South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ).

The facility is expected to develop support services, conduct research, help in developing skills and knowledge exchange for agri-food businesses across Lincolnshire and beyond.

The facility will build on the success of the University’s existing Holbeach campus, which is home to the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM).

The building will include microbiology and chemistry laboratories, a high-tech test kitchen and sensory suite, break space, and seminar rooms, and will act as an innovation hub in promoting the uptake of advanced technologies such as robotics and automation to ensure that the UK’s agri-food industry remains competitive.

Willmott Dixonoperations director Stuart Kerr said: “This is a pivotal scheme for Lincolnshire, and we are excited to have reached this significant milestone in its delivery. The region is at the cutting-edge of the agri-food sector and R&D is going to continue shaping this work, especially thanks to the Centre of Excellence.

“We are extremely passionate about Lincolnshire, and the opportunities it presents for growth and investment. Lincolnshire is an excellent place to do business and we have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline as well as recently winning an RICS award for the Lincoln Transport Hub.”

The FEZ will be located next to the A17 and A151 and will support agri-food businesses, with a focus on the food technology sector.

Upon completion, the first phase of the development will occupy nearly 16,000m² of business space and could create more than 400 jobs.

The University of Lincoln Holbeach and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing Dean Val Braybrooks said: “The agri-food sector and its supply chains are of enormous importance to the county economically, and evolving global food markets are creating unprecedented opportunities for both established and early-stage businesses as suppliers of innovative new products and technologies.

“This new facility is designed to house a community of leading industrial scientists and their support teams, working to meet the innovation, research and knowledge transfer needs of Greater Lincolnshire’s agri-food businesses.”

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Image: Artist’s rendering of the new agri-food R&D facility. (Credit: Willmott Dixon.)

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