Work on a new centre for emerging businesses at Roundswell will begin later this year after Devon County Council (DCC) secured more than £5million in funding.

The site at Roundswell, viewed from the A39 footbridge. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe site at Roundswell, viewed from the A39 footbridge. Picture: Sarah Howells

The Roundswell Enterprise Centre will be the first development at the new business park south of the A39.

The centre is planned to be the flagship of the business park and will provide office and collaboration space for small and medium sized businesses.

Tailored support will be available for entrepreneurs and the county council hopes to procure an expert operator to run the centre and deliver support for businesses.

The funding follows successful bids to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HoTSWLEP) in addition to investment from the county council.

The plans for the enterprise centre in Barnstaple. Picture: Devon County CouncilThe plans for the enterprise centre in Barnstaple. Picture: Devon County Council

The project is receiving up to £2.9 million from the England ERDF, while £2.15 comes from the HoTSWLEP's Local Growth Fund.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, DCC's cabinet member for economy and skills, said: "We're delighted to receive this support and investment from the ERDF and HotSWLEP to help us move towards getting this scheme under way.

"The Enterprise Centre and wider business park is vital for achieving economic growth in northern Devon and we're keen to start progressing this site as soon as we can."

The council has appointed ISG as contractor for the centre, which is expected to be open for business by the end of 2020.

The rest of the business park's employment land will be marketed for sale for mixed business uses later this year. When fully developed it is hoped it will support 350 jobs.

The county council's local ward members have expressed support for the scheme.

The ward member for Fremington Rural, Councillor Frank Biederman, said: "I am really excited that the enterprise centre is moving forward and will give great opportunities for people to start up in business with support available to them, once completed."

Councillor Richard Edgell, ward member for Chulmleigh and Landkey, said: "I am particularly pleased that this will support growing businesses in North Devon by providing small work units from which they can expand as their businesses develop, with the help of support and encouragement at the centre."

The council's property agent, NPS South West, is registering early interest in space at the Enterprise Centre. Contact Chris Bouchard at chris.bouchard@nps.co.uk for more information.