£5.3m innovation base named after Rolls-Royce engine

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A £5.3M project that will create 150 jobs is a step closer to completion.

A ceremony was held yesterday to mark the end of works to the exterior of the Innovation Centre at Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent and rename it the Merlin Centre.

2/12/14    ''Innovation Centre Topping Out ceremony and tour in Lee-on-the-Solent. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143376-2) PPP-140212-164551001

2/12/14 ''Innovation Centre Topping Out ceremony and tour in Lee-on-the-Solent. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143376-2) PPP-140212-164551001

To view timelapse footage of the Innovation Centre being built click here

Fareham’s council leader Sean Woodward said the name was in honour of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine – one of the most iconic aircraft engines in the world.

He said: ‘We have invested £5.3m in Merlin House, of which the vast majority came as a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency, which was very good news.

‘We’re continuing to invest in the site – we’re resurfacing the runway which is costing £1.5m which will be finished in a few weeks time.

2/12/14    ''Innovation Centre Topping Out ceremony and tour in Lee-on-the-Solent. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143376-3) PPP-140212-164611001

2/12/14 ''Innovation Centre Topping Out ceremony and tour in Lee-on-the-Solent. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143376-3) PPP-140212-164611001

‘We’re building new hangars and if Fareham Borough Council takes over the entire site next April then we will be investing, over the life of the Enterprise Zone, £56m over 22 years.’

The Enterprise Zone has already seen CEMAST open, which took its first students in September studying automotive, engineering and manufacturing courses run by Fareham College.

Darren Gill, managing director from Bouygues UK, which built the centre, said: ‘We are proud to be associated with this project.’

Bouygues UK, which also built the Centre of Excellence in Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST), at the site, employed 55 people to build the centre with work starting in June.

Mr Gill said: ‘There are 13 weeks to go, there’s a lot to do still but I am extremely confident our team will deliver a quality product on time and to budget.’

Stephen Brownie, who will be Merlin House’s manager, works for Oxford Innovation which will manage the centre.

He said: ‘We are nearly finished, it will complete in March next year and we will have the first occupiers moving in during April. We have had lots of interest already.’

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