India eyes up area

PUBLISHED: 16:34 22 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:53 28 May 2010

TOP Indian business strategists made a surprise visit to Fenland to look at the possibility of bringing high tech employment to the district. Their visit came in the week occupancy levels at the South Fens Business Centre in Chatteris was expected to hit

TOP Indian business strategists made a surprise visit to Fenland to look at the possibility of bringing high tech employment to the district.

Their visit came in the week occupancy levels at the South Fens Business Centre in Chatteris was expected to hit 100 per cent - two years ahead of target.

"Interest has gone ballistic in recent weeks," said Clive Gibbon, business development officer for Fenland District Council.

"South Fens is one of the lowest rental prices around and bodes well for people migrating from Cambridge which is becoming too expensive for many companies."

The Indian visit was co-ordinated by the Cambridge based consultancy THINKIndia, which was set up to ease two-way trade between the East of England and India.

Tony Quested, a founder member of THINKIndia, said the delegation was headed by someone "very high up" in the Indian business community who is helping to shape that country's knowledge-based economy.

"They are bringing a lot of companies to this country and tend to scale up very quickly," said Mr Quested. "When they make a decision they move fast."

Mr Quested said the Indian delegation was interested in the possibilities created in Wisbech by The Boathouse business centre being built alongside the Nene and a promised new mini-science park in Chatteris next to the South Fens Business Centre.

Thak Patel, CEO of THINKIndia, said: "The Fenland visit was undertaken by a senior industry figure from India, who saw at first hand all the region has to offer.

"He remarked to us that due to its close proximity to Cambridge and London but lower potential set up and running costs, there was a definite advantage to be in the Fens and that he would encourage Indian businesses to look at this opportunity closely."

Mr Gibbon said: "India is building its economic growth on knowledge-based businesses and Fenland is an ideal area for this business. Indian is a big player in IT and telecommunications.

"We have taken readings of market demand and embarked on plans to build a number of office schemes that befit the area, not the usual low tech sheds that are often provided.

"We want to demonstrate how keen we are see international businesses move here."

Council leader Geoff Harper said the interest from the Indian delegation was "most welcome. It is part of our commitment to encouraging inward investment.

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