PLANS to expand the county's biggest innovation park which will create hundreds of jobs are due to be brought forward.

Planning Consultants Stride Treglown have submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to Purbeck District Council which lists how the the Dorset Innovation Park at Winfrith will expand through a Local Development Order (LDO) which will help to fast-tracking planning consent for future employment and supported uses on the site, subject to a number of conditions.

The Environmental Impact Assessment is just one stage in the overall Local Development Order process, which applies for over-arching simplified planning permission for the site.

Under the proposals put forward in the EIA, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) want to create approximately 52,355sqm of new floorspace for employment uses.

Stride Treglown say that 70 per cent of the space will be used for business and enterprise use which will include research and development, light industrial, storage and distribution while other parts of the site will see be used for social, collaborative, training and learning purposes.

The report added: "The Innovation Park will become a place with its own distinct character that will appeal to new and current tenants, including their employees. This will become a place where people want to work."

Councillor Cherry Brooks, Purbeck District Council's spokesman for economy and infrastructure said that the plans were an exciting new chapter in the life of the park.

The park was officially opened by business leaders and politicians in February and already hosts two world leaders in defence technology – QinetiQ and Atlas Elektronik UK while the campus as a whole covers an area of 132 hectares with the Innovation Park covering an area of 50 hectares, of which 35 hectares is developable, the second largest strategic employment site in the Dorset LEP area.

Lorna Carver, Dorset LEP director, added: "Dorset Innovation Park is expected to facilitate 2,000 new jobs and attract dozens of new businesses to the area."

An informal public consultation took place with Wool and Moreton residents in February, whose valuable feedback fed into the LDO process so far.

Formal consultation with the local communities will take place in September/October before the LDO is submitted to the Purbeck Planning Committee.

Detailed plans for the park are expected to be submitted in the next few months.