Nirah proposal ‘will transform area’

Mar 28, 2007

More than 1,000 businesses have backed the plan to build a tourist attraction and pioneering research centre into aquatic habitats and more than 14,000 local people have signed a petition of support.

Now Renaissance Bedford executive director Chris Watts (pictured) has written to Bedfordshire County Council, saying that Nirah would bring “significant” employment to the area and would transform the area’s appeal to inward investors.

Renaissance Bedford is charged with delivering the housing and new employment for the Bedford and North Marston Vale growth area up to the year 2021.

In his letter to County Hall, Mr Watts said: “It is time, I feel, for our own voice to be added to those local agencies and organisations which are very supportive of this very exciting and innovative development.

“The challenges are steep especially in the area of employment growth. For this reason we can see that Nirah, being proposed within the Growth Area itself, if developed on the lines proposed in the planning application, will have a significant potential to assist us and our partners in realising the required ‘step change’ in new employment.”

Nirah would bring hundreds of jobs in knowledge-based research and science, which in turn would allow local supply chain companies to expand, he added.

“Nirah has the potential to completely change the way in which external inward investors and developers see the county, and the growth area itself in the future,” Mr Watts said.

“Nirah could radically change the growth area’s brand and economic profile and could strengthen its image and identity in a very positive way.

“It could also help to encourage a cluster of new eco-tourism facilities and attractions to develop and grow here.”””

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