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Downham Project showcased to Chinese investors

17:13 16 September 2014

New knowledge centre to be built on ex RAF Downham Market base. Picture: Ian Burt

New knowledge centre to be built on ex RAF Downham Market base. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Downham Markets’ proposed £170m Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CfAKE) has been showcased to potential Chinese investors.

Plans for the centre were displayed as part of the Government’s UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) department as part of its “Britain is Great” campaign.

The conference aimed to promote projects with potential, on a global scale.

The Aventa Capital run project, would create would create 4,600 permanent jobs and 1,500 temporary construction positions.

Plans for the 72-acre site include 10 commercial and research buildings, as well as a learning facility for young people which will accommodate 3,000 students.

Further plans on the site down the line could include a potential new academy school.

But due to the high project costs and potential rising issues, such as the lack of power in the area, external funding is required.

Despite the costs, the project has been well received, after been given the backing of West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Borough Council leader Nick Daubney last month.

Feedback from Chinese Investors at the UKTI conference also suggested an interest in the project, due to its close proximity to Cambridge as well as an interest in the big data sector.

The centre would hold companies dealing with large quantities of data in professional fields such as medical and defence.

Investment Director for CfAKE, John Beer, said: “Big Data and Knowledge Engineering are industries in which the UK has established itself as a world leader.

“Downham Market is the perfect place for it to be based, as it is equidistant between Cambridge and Norwich where there are already established technology-based business and education hubs while there is also good access to London. “The centre is being positioned as a globally important project as we are looking to attract businesses who are reliant on Big Data and Knowledge Engineering.

“I am really excited about the potential this project can deliver and having the opportunity to speak directly to businesses and investors from China has been invaluable.”

The CfAKE will continue to be showcased at national and regional events across the country.

Do you have any West Norfolk business stories? Email kieran.lynch@archant.co.uk

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