The latest phase of a multi-million pound scheme to put Colchester at the heart of the UK’s digital and high-tech economy has been unveiled.

The new £1million building is on the Parkside Office Village on the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway research and technology

park. The building will become the base for the Economic and Social Research Council’s Business and Local Government Data Research Centre led by Professor Vania Sena and the University’s Institute for Analytics and Data Science led by Professor Maria Fasli. It will also house the award-winning Games Hub, which is getting ready to launch its latest skills development programme for computer games designers

and is a learning centre for video game creators, and the university’s Institute for Analytics and Data Science.

South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has supported Parkside Office Village from the outset providing loan funding of £2.4million from the Government’s Growing Places Fund for the first phase. This latest development phase was supported by a further

£850,000 in funding.

University vice-chancellor Prof Anthony Forster said: “We are incredibly

grateful for the support we have received from South East Local Enterprise Partnership. This has been crucial in developing Parkside Office Village as a hotspot for innovative businesses. SELEP and our

partners – including Essex County Council, Colchester Council, Essex

Chamber of Commerce and the Haven Gateway Partnership – are helping us fulfil our vision.”

Christian Brodie, chairman of the SELEP, said: “Parkside Office Village is a glowing example of business and education working together to further the economic growth and development of our region. It is a fine model of Government funds being used on projects identified by SELEP and local authorities, in the right places and with the right focus to produce long term gains for the south east.”

Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council’s deputy leader, said: “Parkside

Office Village is a fantastic initiative and I am delighted to see this first phase reach completion.

“It is great to see it become home to so many innovative businesses.”

Tim Young, Colchester Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration and culture, added: “The economic benefits for the borough are significant, enabling job creation and providing the skills and facilities for businesses to grow.”

Parkside Office Village now has more than 20 other small and medium sized enterprises