It’s been a long and hard journey but Bodmin Chamber has entered an Expression of Interest (EoI) in applying for funding from the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) which is party of the Governments Levelling Up Strategy.
Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly are administering this fund allocation under the name “Good Growth”. Below is the key content in the EoI and if you have any comments, ideas or support you can provide the Bodmin Chamber Executive team, please contact Joy Bassett – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bodmin Agri Food & Drink Industrial Resource Centre: Cornwall Gateway
Cornwall Gateway builds on the original vision of Phil Ugalde for an Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ) Agri-Food & Drink Centre in Bodmin with a more commercial focus. Cornwall Gateway aims to be a world first, future focused, industrial, educational, innovative and collaborative development that will showcase and invest in the future of our Cornish Food & Drink industry and secure our local food supply. We are continuing with the legacy established from Experts Grow (2018/2019), Croust CIC (2020/2021) and more recently, Food & Drink Cornwall in supporting the development and growth of business in Cornish food and drink sector.
Our proposal shows a strategically supported concept which is to be developed and delivered over clear, industry-recognised phases which will ensure a viable and impactful investment in the sector regionally, and in the local economy. This robust approach will be overseen by us as lead body with experienced professional services to be appointed across key roles identified at each phase
The Opportunity & Challenge being addressed
Our collective research shows that many small food and drink producers end up sending their products out of County to be bottled or canned; Navas Tonic, for example, gets sent to the Midlands and Cornish Pilchards are being sent to Brittany for canning. This demonstrates a clear need and advantage to having these kinds of shared facilities available in Cornwall extending the shelf life of our products, reducing food miles, strengthening our food security and strong Cornish brands.
Cornwall Gateway aims to increase sector turnover for Cornwall by 15-20% per annum. We anticipate this will help established companies accelerate growth through innovation and technology adoption, market and product development, global consumer focus and provide start-up production space and development facilities for high-growth new businesses. Currently 85% of all food and drink businesses in Cornwall are small /micro businesses. This facility aims to accelerate the growth of the Cornish agri-food and drink industry expediently. Phil Ugalde often states that if this type of facility was available in Cornwall when he started his business, he believes it would have taken him 5 years as opposed to 30 to get where he is today.
As the farmers and primary suppliers look to increase their productivity, they are going to need more processing facilities. The project sites is approximately 12 acres, which will have room to add more processing plants as they are needed.
We envisage the site will provide wrap around industrial services and facilities to the food and drink industry. This includes:
- Processing units – bottling and canning initially
- A Shared Distribution Centre
- Shared Warehouse facilities for all food and drink types
- Packaging and labelling facilities
- Incubator Units for Start-Ups
- Welfare units – showers and toilet facilities
The site will also be home to a business/conference resource centre for:
- Meetings / Training events / Conferences / Home to the Bodmin Skills Board / Cornwall Gateway Head Office
We are aware that there are minimal Skills, Training and Apprentices support currently available in Cornwall for the Food & Drink industry. We therefore intend to work in partnership with Truro & Penwith College, local colleges Callywith and Bodmin, Duchy Agriculture College, Exeter and Falmouth Universities to create an on-site pioneering, state of the art educational centre which will include:
- A STEM skills centre for the agri-food & drink industry
- A centre for scientific and technological advancement
- Research and development
- Laboratory facilities
- Apprenticeships such butchery, bakery, dairy, brewing and distilling
As a future phase within our overall masterplan we envisage an adjacent site seen from the A30 to include:
- A retail outlet for ‘Made in Cornwall’ products.
- A number of ISO containers for cookery demonstrations, local chefs, TV studio, street food and café.
- Food/drink festivals
- Guided tours/school visits of the industrial site
Potential for other onsite services
- Health & Wellbeing: Creche facilities, gym with wellbeing centre, bicycle hire/repair.
- Sustainability: Recycling, Electrical Vehicle charging points, Renewables including wind turbine.
Bodmin Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd are the lead organisation for the purposes of applying for SPF. We will set up Cornwall Gateway (B Corp Pending) as the company that will buy the land and manage the centre. We anticipate the following key phases in delivering our vision:
Phase 1a: Options & Feasibility: To enable progress to the Treasury Green Book ‘Outline Business Case’ stage, with masterplan progress, design development, business model review, partnerships formalised, land negotiations and optimal operational structure assessed. A clear plan of phasing, cost, funding and structure in place. Cost c£100,000 (SPF Revenue scale).
Phase 1b: Design & Operational Development to Planning Submission Stage: To enable progress to Treasury Green Book ‘Full Business Case’ stage. An investment-ready stage for the SPF Cornwall Gateway project to include detailed design, operational structures in place and match funding strategy set out. All partnerships secured and the capital project and construction phasing set out with a procurement strategy. Cost c£500,000 (SPF Capital scale).
Phase 2: Delivery of Cornwall Gateway: Main programme of delivery utilising SPF and match funding to deliver the core outputs of the project, and set the basis as a catalyst for future phases within the overall masterplan.
We envisage the industry related services/plants will be privately owned and comprise of a variety of business structures, from CICs to co-operatives. Should our application be successful we plan that 12-months later Cornwall Gateway will be in a shovel ready position, ready for the next round of SPF funding to secure the land for the benefit of Cornwall.
The amount we are initially asking for will cover the following costs:
- Surveys and environmental searches
- Outline Business Case business plan/revenue model
- Identify the various development phases and order of priority
- Professional costs – legal and accountancy
- Design, Planning, Project & Cost Management Services
- To produce an Investors Prospectus
- Commercial viability report
- Project manager/s – for our Lead Body Team
At this stage, we believe our core project capital cost to be in the region of £10million. We will be looking to secure investment from various other income streams including R&D and 60% from private investment to fund the project and fulfil its potential.
Questions: We would appreciate having a conversation with the Good Growth Fund Team to find out more about the capital criteria which has a limit of £500,000 and determine how where we fit with your criteria, and whether an Options & Feasibility Stage Revenue Fund bid or Capital Fund Planning-Stage bid are best placed to progress.