Ethical investors sought for Runcorn ‘visionary’ eco-zone

An artist’s impression of what Heath Park might look like in years to come. (SOG)

The search for ethical investors is underway to support a bold project to transform a Runcorn business park into an eco-friendly “21st Century Port Sunlight”.

SOG Group, owner of Heath Business and Technical Park, said it was now engaging with potential funding sources to support the “amazing and visionary” scheme.

The project aims to redevelop the former ICI office and laboratory complex into a futuristic, eco-friendly 55,000 square foot neighborhood with “ultra energy efficient” homes, workplaces and leisure facilities, including green spaces, under the renamed ‘Heath Park’ name and powered by renewable energy.

SOG revealed its plans in early 2020 and said work has been progressing behind the scenes ever since.

The proposals will be supported by the findings of a feasibility study carried out in conjunction with Lancaster and Liverpool Universities to examine the potential of the 57-acre site.

Listed as the Liverpool City region’s Beacon Project, Heath Park is one of 35 “ethical projects” promoted in the UK government’s Global Investment Atlas.

Tim Metson, estate agent for the Heath Park project, said: “Our vision is to build on this success by transforming the location to meet the challenges of the future by creating a vibrant zero carbon environment of residential spaces, commercial and retail to complement the existing stock.

“There is also a revolutionary vertical farm, powered by renewable energy, which is at the heart of a program that has superb ESG credentials and is sure to appeal to global ethical investors.”

He added: “We had intended to unveil Heath Park’s proposals at MIPIM in 2020, which has been cancelled, so it is fitting that we now use MIPIM 2022 as a platform to reach out to ethical investors to to raise the necessary funds to turn this incredible vision into reality.

An aerial view of what Heath Park might look like. (SOG)

“We are officially launching our Investor Pack at MIPIM, but we are already very encouraged by the inquiries received from several leading global investors who have expressed interest.”

He added: “The aim is for Heath Park to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

“The North West region of the UK has a number of energy initiatives focusing on solar, wind, tidal and hydrogen which can all be used to meet our carbon free aspirations.

“Local food production and vertical farming are at the heart of the community, with a world-class ‘next generation’ vertical farm.

“This unique 55,000 square foot facility promises to totally transform the industry by achieving the goal of net zero vertical farms.

“Heath Park is a fantastic opportunity for ethical investors to be part of a truly groundbreaking plug-and-play program.

“It is a unique model with outstanding ESG (environmental, social and governance) values ​​that can be replicated for other sites in the UK and around the world.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool Region, said: “SOG’s vision of transforming Heath Business and Technical Park into ‘Heath Park’ – a sustainable, state-of-the-art environment in which to live and work – is precisely the kind of inspiring project that aligns with our vision of a growing, vibrant and prosperous Liverpool city region.

“This flagship project complements the Liverpool City region’s local industrial strategy, while SOG’s intention to target ethical investors for this excellent initiative aligns perfectly with our innovative model of truly inclusive economic growth.”

Heath Business Park, located on Heath Road South in Runcorn, Cheshire, is home to 120 businesses and 2,000 jobs.