A NEW business and innovation centre owned by Blenheim Palace is set to be the home for almost 300 workers.

The 28,000 sq ft site, due to open in September, is located on the Windrush Industrial Park in Witney which was bought by the Blenheim Estate last year and is designed to accommodate up to 50 small and growing companies.

Now refurbishment work is in full swing with centre operators Oxford Innovation reporting strong demand from potential occupiers.

John Hoy, chief executive of Blenheim Palace, said: “The Witney Business and Innovation Centre is a key part of our commitment to the local community and we are pleased to be working in partnership with Oxford Innovation on this exciting project.

“The growth of local businesses is crucial to the recovery and sustainable growth of the economy. Companies will benefit from flexible letting arrangements and a supportive environment with access to the funding and advice they need to help them succeed.”

The office building, formerly known as Windrush House, is situated at the entrance to the 28-acre park and is Oxford Innovation’s 20th UK innovation centre, seven of which are in Oxfordshire.

Chris Allington, managing director of Oxford Innovation’s business and innovation centres division, said: “This prestigious appointment provides the opportunity to create a thriving centre in a prime commercial location just outside Witney.

“Our ambition is for Witney Business and Innovation Centre to become a focal point for enterprise in West Oxfordshire and a generator of local employment.

“We estimate the centre should create about 290 jobs,” Mr Allington added.

Offices are available in a range of unit sizes from 100 sq ft to 1,500 sq ft and can be let on flexible licence agreements so clients are not tied in to long lets.

The centre also offers a “virtual” office service for entrepreneurs needing a professional address and telephone answering service along with meeting rooms and conference facilities.

Business support services provided at the centre will include access to funding through Oxford Innovation’s business angel investment networks as well as mentoring and business planning advice.

Day to day management will be overseen by centre director, Margaret Hewitt, who is also in charge of the Oxford Centre for Innovation which recently moved to new premises in New Road, Oxford.

Ms Hewitt added: “This centre sits in a thriving commercial location that combines spectacular views across the Windrush Valley with easy access to Witney and Oxford.

“We already have a strong pipeline of enquiries from prospective occupiers and I welcome further inquiries from companies interested in finding out about the range of offices and support we offer.”

* Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Ms Hewitt on 01865 261471.