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Manufacturing Innovation Centre for Moray set for Forres Enterprise Park as part of Moray Growth Deal

By Garry McCartney

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An artist’s impression of the Manufacturing Innovation Centre for Moray.
An artist’s impression of the Manufacturing Innovation Centre for Moray.

A DECISION on a new regional business site being built in Forres is imminent.

A Manufacturing Innovation Centre for Moray (MICM) has been mooted for Forres Enterprise Park as part of the Moray Growth Deal signed in December 2021 - a business case was presented to the Moray Growth Deal board in August and, if approved, it is expected to start providing services by 2024.

Forres Enterprise Park is an ongoing development by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

A HIE spokesperson said: “The full business case is progressing through review and approval before it can be finalised in line with Growth Deal governance. Key factors for Forres as a location include proximity to businesses and logistical and efficiency opportunities. Key features of the centre will be space for start-up incubation, as well as demonstration and technical facilities.”

MICM aims to bring world-leading research and development expertise in advanced manufacturing. Through the centre, businesses will be able to collaborate with universities.

The spokesperson added: “The idea behind MICM is about innovation, growth, productivity, and efficiency in indigenous manufacturing companies, and increasing the number of manufacturing start-ups in the area. It’s also about supporting more research and development, and attracting manufacturing inward investment. MICM will be designed to support the creation of higher paid jobs, improve skills among the workforce, attract and retain more young people, while encouraging occupational integration and gender balance.”

Two of eight growth deal projects have started in Moray, namely ‘Digital Health’ and ‘Bus Revolution’. The remaining six have been preparing business cases due to be submitted for review by the end of the year. These include a housing mix near Dallas Dhu of 24 affordable net-zero homes and 20 self-build plots on the Altyre Estate. The £7.5 million housing mix delivery project is being led by Moray Council.

A council spokesperson said: “The full business case will go to full council then the Scottish Government for sign-off. An event at the end of this June for the design concepts will be followed up later in the year with designs incorporating feedback.”

A dedicated STEM Hub is planned in Forres, with the location to be finalised later in the year. The project is looking to fund a trail of SMART technology in properties that enables residents to live more independently.

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