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RAF site to become ‘big data’ hub

The RAF Downham Market site is planned to become a Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering.

downhamweb attended a Town Team presentation from Aventa Capital, hosted at Timbers hotel, about the proposed development of a new centre for knowledge engineering.

Plans are under way for the development of the old RAF Downham Market site at Bexwell to become a world leading centre for Information and Knowledge Engineering (data processing, learning, analysis, and more), with work planned to begin as soon as this Autumn. The man behind the plan, John Beer (of Aventa Capital, an investment management company) says the development will be “a game changer for the region”.

The centre is planned to host educational facilities focusing on Computer Science and Information Engineering, in conjunction with the College of West Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University. The educational campus expected to play host to 300 students from 6th Form to Masters degree level. There are plans for student halls of residence for upto 200 students. The aims are to raise aspirations in young people, give access to skills improvements, and put Downham Market at the centre of this new, important, and fast growing field.

The site intends to also be a hub for the business sector too, including spaces available for companies in Knowledge based industries. The site preposes an ‘Incubator’ scheme, where new businesses and startups can be developed and funded.

Links back to the RAF and Bomber Command are expected also, to keep memory of the lands’ former use alive. The developers want to convert an existing building into an immersive multimedia centre for the public to visit and find out about the RAF history on the site.

Development of this project is predicted to create 1500 temporary construction jobs, and 4600 permanent jobs at the centre. John Beer reassured businesses at the Town Team meeting that local companies will be considered throughout the development process of this site.

Discussions of a public information point about the site, possibly in the Downham Market library, is indented to clarify details and put to bed misconceptions about the plans.

The proposed ‘Institute of Data Science’ building will be the first step in the plan and is aimed for completion in Q1 of 2015.

We at downhamweb are excited, and there is great interest from the Town Team, about the idea of this new development and it’s implications for Downham Market. We will keep our news up to date with information as we get it.



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