Plans have gone in for a new £5million business enterprise centre at a Barnstaple business park.

Devon County Council has submitted proposals for the centre on the new Roundswell South development.

The enterprise centre would be a multi-occupancy office space for new and existing small and medium businesses with protential for high growth.

The county council retain ownership of the centre buy lease it to an operator to manage the facility as well as provide tailored business start-up, growth and innovation support to tenants businesses and eligible businesses across North Devon and Torridge.

Subject to confirmation of the full funding, work could start on site in autumn 2018, with the centre possibly opening for business as early as Spring 2020.

The Roundswell South development site runs next to the A39; it already has outline planning permission for mixed business use and access via a new roundabout and footbridge.

DCC is submitting funding applications for the centre to the European Regional Development Fund and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, DCC cabinet member for economy and skills, said: “This business park is an opportunity to provide employment land in northern Devon to help encourage business growth and inward investment – and the Enterprise Centre will be key to that.

“The centre will encourage the creation of new higher value employment and develop key hi-tech sectors, which will increase business confidence and innovation within the North Devon economy.”

Councillor Frank Biederman, DCC for Fremington Rural, added: “I am pleased to see this moving forward and believe it will create new business opportunities, which ultimately will mean new higher paid employment, for North Devon.”

The site is allocated for employment development and a park and ride in the emerging Local Plan to 2031.

The council’s masterplan includes proposals to open up 10.5 acres of land, as well as providing a park and change facility with around 155 car parking spaces as well as cycle parking and storage.

An event to engage with potential operators is planned for next month, and will shortly be advertised through the county council’s procurement portal www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk.

The development plots on the site will be sold freehold and will be formally marketed later this year.

Anyone interested in space at the Business Park or Enterprise Centre should contact the scheme agent: Diane Rider, NPS South West Ltd. Tel. 01392 351209 or email: Diane.Rider@nps.co.uk.