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St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, in partnership with Devon County Council, officially marked the start of works today (Tuesday 24 September) on the Ambulance Special Operations Centre (ASOC West) at the £210m Skypark* scheme, situated to the north of Exeter Airport.

On completion, Skypark, one of the key developments forming part of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point initiative**, will provide a 1.4m sq ft business park, comprising warehouse, industrial and office space and deliver up to 6,500 new jobs.

Located within the initial phase of development will be the flagship operational ambulance facility. South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust will become the first occupier at Skypark to benefit from the ground-breaking E.ON Energy Centre located at the development. Once fully operational, the Energy Centre will provide a sustainable and cost-effective source of energy for all of Skypark’s occupiers via a state-of-the-art district heating system.

The Ambulance Special Operations Centre (West) will be an operational ambulance facility that will provide a central response, training and administration facility for a range of the Trust’s specialist resources.

Operating 24/7, 365 days a year, a team of specially recruited, trained and equipped ambulance paramedics will provide the NHS ambulance response to a range of demanding, technical and potentially hazardous incidents across the whole of the Trust’s operational area, as well as a rapid response service to the local area including the emerging community of Cranbrook and enterprises of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point.

The new ambulance facility will enable better access for the South Western Ambulance Service across the South West***, due to the strong transport links with the M5 following the recent completion of two multi-million pound access points to the scheme and Exeter Airport.

Ian Guy, Senior Development Manager for St. Modwen in the South West, commented: “Significant investment has been injected into improving Skypark’s overall infrastructure and connectivity over the past year to help attract new occupiers, such as ASOC, who will, in turn, help drive jobs and business opportunities in the area. All developments at the scheme are being built to meet the highest sustainable credentials with BREEAM Excellent Certification which will help reduce day-to-day running costs, and the start of work on this state-of-the-art facility is another major step forward for Skypark’s first phase of development.”

Rob Cross, Project Manager at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust, commented: “The Trust’s project team has worked closely with St. Modwen to bring about the delivery of this purpose-built operational ambulance facility. The Trust required a location that would enable it to respond to a wide range of incidents across the region as quickly as possible and at any hour of the day.

“Skypark provides us with the ideal location for the new facility and will guarantee the delivery of an effective and essential rapid response service for the South West because of the quick access to the motorway and the communities along the M5 corridor, as well as air support via Exeter Airport.”

Leader of East Devon District Council, Cllr Paul Diviani, added: “It is marvellous to see the first occupiers arriving at Skypark. We have been pursuing an infrastructure led approach to development here, building the roads, including the new Clyst Honiton bypass, and getting the heating network in place so occupiers can then establish themselves quickly and reap the benefits of Skypark’s strategic location.”