Government Transport Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton, caught a glimpse of the future last week, when she visited Westcott Enterprise Zone to see a showcase of new technologies that could help revolutionise our lives.
During the visit the Minister witnessed the 5G test site, which is being used as a test site for the development of unmanned automated vehicles and their ability to transmit data over a 5G network, and the Incubation Centre who are supporting businesses in the arena of satellite applications, propulsion systems and drone technologies.
Richard Harrington, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Bucks LEP), said: “Westcott is an important development area for Bucks LEP, one which encompasses our Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone and we were delighted to welcome Baroness Vere to see first-hand the ground breaking work taking place at Westcott.
“We are proud to provide Local Growth Funds to help establish the Westcott 5G Step-out Centre and Innovation Centre, due to be opened later this year, at the site. This investment links closely with the aims of our Local Industrial Strategy to act as a catalyst for working our economic assets harder with a view to creating more opportunity, more collaboration between sectors and more productivity.”
The Westcott Venture Park is one of three sites in Buckinghamshire that has secured Enterprise Zone status. The vision for the park is to be a globally leading centre in the field of space and satellite propulsion, building on the rich heritage of rocket technologies at the site.
At heart of Bucks LEP’s Local Industrial Strategy is the long-term investment plan for Westcott Space Cluster to develop new research and development facilities and a base manufacturing excellence in space propulsion and in-orbit maintenance, and to address skills shortages for technicians and propulsion test specialists.
Rod Mordey, Director at PATRIZIA explained: “Westcott Venture Park is a unique business park with a thriving ecosystem of space companies building upon the site’s history in rocket motor propulsion. It is a secure site with an established regulatory and safety regime suitable for testing a wide variety of systems.
“Our pride in Westcott’s heritage has driven the desire to embrace the future and our investment in the creation of the Westcott Space Cluster, underlines our commitment to the sustainable growth of the Park.”
The UK Space Agency has invested £4.12 million in Westcott Venture Park to develop the National Space Propulsion Test Facility, as part of a joint strategy that sets out how the cluster will get to the next level, addressing skills shortages for technicians and propulsion test specialists.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “Technology will revolutionise the way we live and travel, and it was fantastic to see some of the innovative solutions on offer in Buckinghamshire.”
The Ministers visit to Westcott was part of a wider visit to Buckinghamshire to witness the progress of ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs scheme in Buckinghamshire. The scheme aims to develop and test innovative ‘smart’ technology that will ultimately help improve the quality of life and travel, and help create new ways of generating energy, while saving money in the long run.