Strategic Outline Case for a Proposed Medi Park in South East Wales

The new £350m Grange University Hospital at Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, in South East Wales, will be a regionally-significant Specialist and Critical Care Centre. Adjacent to the hospital, land has been identified for a potential Medi Park development, envisaged as a new location for higher-value commercial uses in the life sciences sector – an area in which South Wales has significant strengths.

In late 2018, SQW was commissioned to prepare a Strategic Outline Case for the proposed Medi Park. Over the next 18 months, SQW, working alongside its sister firm Oxford Innovation, analysed the potential demand from the life sciences sector and the innovation links that could be developed with the new hospital. This supported an agreed vision for the Medi Park and a strategic outline case developed using the HM Treasury 'five case' model.

To inform the work, SQW engaged with a range of stakeholders including NHS Wales and the local University Health Board, industry support organisations such as MediWales and Life Sciences Hub Wales, businesses in the sector, operators of complementary and competing workspace facilities, all three local universities, and comparator schemes elsewhere to learn good practice.

The Medi-Park concept, as set out in the SQW Strategic Outline Case involves the development of new office, R&D and high-quality production space within the vicinity of the new Grange University Hospital currently under construction in Cwmbran. It is intended that this will be oriented to firms in South Wales' growing health and life science sector, helping to drive links between life science businesses and the NHS, as well as creating new, higher-value employment and business opportunities in Torfaen. Based on SQW's analysis of potential demand and consideration of a series of options (outlined in detail in the Economic Case), the preferred option for the Medi-Park includes: a 'Phase 1a' innovation centre, of around 23,000 sq ft of net lettable space; 'Phase 1b' grow-on space, of around 60,000 sq ft; and 'Phase 2' scope for longer-term expansion, estimated at around 2.7 hectares of land.

Through the development of the Strategic Outline Case, SQW supported the development of an ambitious long-term vison for the new Medi Park, as part of a suite of interventions to support the development of the life sciences sector across Cardiff Capital region, and which is now being progressed by the Medi Park Board. This will form the basis of a Full Business Case for the scheme.