Talbot Village Trust starts consultation on Innovation Quarter

PLANS for an “innovation quarter” and a private hospital near Bournemouth’s universities are a “once in a generation opportunity” for jobs, health and wellbeing, it is claimed.

A new site for digital and tech businesses would create 322 local jobs and boost the economy by £67million a year, according to Talbot Village Trust, which has begun a public consultation.

The trust wants people’s views before an outline planning application is submitted for the Innovation Quarter, along with a detailed application to move the town’s Nuffield Health hospital to the site.

Nick Ashley-Cooper, chairman of Talbot Village Trust, said: “We genuinely believe this is a once in a generation opportunity. The trust has been working at this for many years and it’s exciting to finally bring forward this masterplan vision, which we hope will really engage the public and bring about lots of ideas.”

The Innovation Quarter would be on part of Highmoor Farm, between the university campuses and Talbot Heath.

The trust says the scheme would:

  • Retain more of the talent coming out of the universities;
  • Improve healthcare by providing a site for Nuffield Health;
  • Create Talbot Place, a public space which would connect the public, academics, students, clinicians and entrepreneurs;
  • Welcome the public in via Talbot Way Boulevard, a car-free route through the spine of the site.

Mr Ashley-Cooper said: “The conurbation is incredibly blessed to have two fantastic universities, producing wonderful graduates with really top courses that attract people from all over the world.

“The problem is that we don’t do a good job at retaining the graduates once they’ve finished their courses and this project is all about working with the universities to support the kind of industries that they would like to see.”

Consultants predict the jobs at the Innovation Quarter would generate an average hourly wage of £22.47.

The hospital would see an £86m investment, with 40-50 new jobs.

The trust is currently considering its response to BCP Council planning board’s decision to refuse a separate but related plan to turn part of Highmoor Farm into a publicly accessible park, or “heathland support area”.

Mr Ashley-Cooper said: “This whole month of July is about putting these plans out there for the public to really get to know and understand and get a feel for and then we’ll really listen to the feedback. Hopefully that will help shape some of these ideas so we really deliver something that has community buy-in.”

The trust is distributing 6,000 leaflets and has a website at talbotinnovationquarter.co.uk

It is hosting exhibitions tomorrow, Thursday, July 14, 2-6pm, and Saturday, July 16, 11am-4pm, at Talbot House, Bournemouth University.

Anyone interested is asked to register for a time slot online.

The public can also call 0800 080 3291 or email innovationquarter@devcomms.co.uk

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