Stromness is celebrating an early birthday present after plans for a multi-million pound research and innovation campus in the town were announced.
More than £6.5m worth of funding will go towards the refurbishment of the Old Academy and former Stromness Primary School, with the buildings making up the bulk of the 3.75 acre campus. The development comes in the same year Stromness will mark the 200th anniversary of becoming a Burgh.
The Old Academy is currently the home of Orkney’s marine renewable industry, housing the European Marine Energy Centre, Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology, environmental consultants Aquatera and number of other businesses.
The campus project will support the growth of the existing research and innovation activity being carried out in Orkney, as well as the expansion of companies in the renewables, energy and low-carbon sector. It’s hoped the move will attract academic institutions and new businesses to Orkney too.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise will provide £5.15m for the project, including European Regional Development Fund money, and will enter into a partnership with Orkney Islands Council, who will put forward £1.5m in support.
Councillor James Stockan, Chair of the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: ‘Our aim is to create a 21st century centre of excellence in a stunning setting, overlooking the harbour in Stromness.
‘We are in discussion with a number of organisations who are actively considering making use of the facilities at the new campus. We are confident that this project will lead to new jobs and activity in Stromness, which will greatly benefit the town and Orkney as a whole.’
A planning application will be submitted for the next stage of the project with building work to create the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus expected to begin before the end of the year.