A new £500 million AgriTech park designed to tackle global food security issues could be up and running in the UK by 2022.
The SmithsonHill-led project is seeking planning permission to construct the ‘world-leading’ facility, called Arc, in South Cambridgeshire.
“Between 2015 and 2016, the number of hungry people globally rose by 38 million. We are facing a global food production challenge and with the population estimated to rise by a further two billion by 2050, it is one that demands immediate attention. In order to overcome these issues, world-changing, innovative AgriTech spaces must be established where we can share ideas and learnings and where we can compete on a global scale with other countries,” said Emma Fletcher, Managing Director at SmithsonHill.
She continued: “Cambridge has firmly established itself as one of Europe’s leading destinations for technology and bioscience, but despite the regions strength in these sectors, the UK AgriTech industry has been woefully undersupplied until now. Our world-leading AgriTech park will fuse farming with science and technology, providing unmatched flexible space including laboratories, workshops, office accommodation and incubator units, as well as adjacent land critical for crop and technology trials. Our ultimate aim is to develop a unique environment in which businesses can thrive, and where we will develop and deliver ground-breaking innovations to assist crop production and yield, minimising both input and cost and reducing global food waste.”
SmithsonHill, a partnership initiative between Russell Smith Farms and Hill Commercial Investment, has submitted the proposals for the 1 million sqft site, which would employ 4000, with the local authorities. Construction is cited to begin in 2019, if it is given the go-ahead, with units available by 2022.