Uttlesford District Council is considering the possibility of loaning an additional £21 million to aid the expansion of a scientific research park, which is already predicted to cost upwards of £40 million.

Chesterford Research Park, located between North Essex and Cambridge, was formerly home to a crop protection research centre during the Second World War before coming to house various biotechnology companies and laboratories from the 1960s.

Due to a shortage of laboratory space in Cambridge, Chesterford Research Park is set for expansion on the site of its Little Chesterford (near Saffron Walden) home, with a hybrid planning application having been validated in February this year.

This latest bid to secure an additional £21 million loan aims to cover Aspire (CRP) Ltd’s share of the development costs for Building 800 also known as the 'Sidney Sussex Building', a new state-of-the-art laboratory, as well as the first phase of an on-site solar farm.

The rental income for the Sidney Sussex building, if fully let, is predicted to hit almost £3.25 million.


Should this be achieved, Aspire estimate that the post-completion value of the building as an asset will be approximately £8 million higher than the construction costs.

The proposed solar farm contributes to both central government’s net-zero carbon aims and allowing the site to be entirely self-sufficient through the use of its own renewable energy. It will also make up the park’s provision of electrical vehicle charging.

Aspire has asked Uttlesford District Council to provide these loans interest-free until April 2026. The expansion is set to be operational by summer 2024.

Further council discussions are scheduled throughout this week (August 21-25).