DEVELOPERS have marked the start of works on a new Ambulance Special Operations Centre at the £210 million Skypark scheme near Exeter Airport.
The flagship facility is rapidly taking shape within the initial phase of development at the business park. Regeneration specialist St Modwen is developing Skypark in partnership with Devon County Council.
One of the key developments in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point initiative, it will provide 1.4m sq ft of warehouse, industrial and office space and deliver up to 6,500 new jobs.
The Ambulance Special Operations Centre (West) will provide a central response, training and administration facility for a range of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust's specialist resources.
Rob Cross, project manager at the trust, said: "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."
Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 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 Cranbrook and enterprises in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point.
The new ambulance facility will enable better access for South Western Ambulance Service across the South West, because of 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, said: "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."
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust will become the first occupier at Skypark to benefit from the nearby ground-breaking E.ON Energy Centre. 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.