Brief: Undertake an analysis of the scale and distribution of business and innovation activity relevant to the current activities of the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus with a view to determining the favoured location for a new development site. Planner preference was for a site located to the South West of Harwell.
Approach: We analysed our proprietary datasets for all active businesses and innovation output within a 10-mile radius of the location of the STFC’s Harwell Campus (so as to exclude any distorting effects of innovation activity in the immediate vicinity of Oxford University). We used a variety of AI/ML methods to analyse the 5 sectors defined as being of strategic importance to the Harwell campus. Both growth and locational analyses were undertaken for each sector. Analysis of business locations showed that, of the 1,285 relevant businesses in the area, the majority were located to the north of Harwell and, in particular, within the North East (NE) quadrant. We further studied business growth profiles for the 5 sectors which confirmed clustering in the NE quadrant and forecast continued growth in this area indicating that the location is convenient for businesses to access a skilled workforce. This area also links in to major existing transit routes. We also studied innovation output around the Harwell campus which further underlined the NE quadrant as the major area of activity.
Conclusion: Our analysis highlighted a strong location bias to the North East of the existing campus where there is a strongly growing cluster of business activity in sectors of strategic importance to Harwell. In order to ensure that this growth continues to be captured, sites in the North East quadrant are indicated as being highly viable.
Impact: The client successfully overturned local planners’ decision on expansion options for Harwell.