Gatwick science park 'to bring 10,000 jobs'

Developers planning a science park and conference centre on 100 hectares of land near Gatwick are hoping to bring 10,000 jobs to Crawley over 20 years.

The Gatwick Green Consortium (GGC) wants to create high-skilled jobs in education, research and training.

GGC is developing plans with Brighton university and Central Sussex College.

The plan is to attract international firms to the West Sussex site and create a science park linking educational institutions with business.

'International campus'

GGC has held informal discussions with about half a dozen companies in the USA, Russia and China about how the project might work.

The development could also have an international campus for non-UK colleges working with local institutions.

The consortium said the planning process could take until 2014 - or until 2017 if the area was designated as a strategic employment site by Crawley Borough Council.

Spokesman Colin Moore compared the initiative to the Surrey Research Park which, owned and developed by the University of Surrey, is now home to more than 100 companies involved in technology, science, health and engineering.

He said the Surrey research park started in 1986 and had just been "more or less completed".

Of the Gatwick science park, he said: "Ten thousand jobs would emerge over a period of 20 years in total."

It would have a science, innovation and technology park, high-grade businesses, incubator units for new businesses and spin-offs from higher education, along with a conference and convention centre and a hotel.

Mr Moore said: "The important thing is we are involving the university and the college right at the very start of this project."

He added: "What we can say with certainty is Crawley has a lack of high-value, high-skilled jobs. It has plenty of semi-skilled and unskilled jobs.

"We are aiming to provide a high-end location attracting international companies."

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