Hobson & Porter wins major contract to build £12m Aura Innovation Centre
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 19 Dec 2018
Hull construction firm Hobson & Porter has won the prestigious multi-million pound contract to build a key green energy hub in Hessle.
The business, headquartered in Sutton Fields, will lead the project to construct the £12m Aura Innovation Centre at the Bridgehead Business Park.
It is hoped the centre, when completed in late 2019, will provide a space for businesses large and small to collaborate to deliver low-carbon energy and clean growth.
The contract takes Hobson & Porter passed the £20m mark for the value of projects it has worked on to support the offshore wind sector.
Richard Hunter, managing director at Hobson & Porter, said: “We’re very excited to have been appointed as the main contractor of this landmark project.
“The project will be our eighth scheme in the offshore energy sector, which is remarkable considering we have never stepped foot offshore. This is a true reflection of the economic impact the sector is bringing to our region.
The ground breaking ceremony for the Aura Innovation Centre, Bridgehead Business Park in Hessle. (Neil Holmes)
“The Aura Innovation Centre will play a huge role in strengthening the region’s reputation as a leader in offshore wind innovation, bringing together the major players in the industry to foster a collaborative and forward-thinking culture in a world-class research facility.
“But it will also demonstrate the fantastic opportunities available to land-based contractors looking to become involved in the offshore sector.”
In October, a host of dignitaries – including Lords Prescott and Haskins, Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy, and East Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby – broke ground at the site to mark the start of construction.
The Aura Innovation Centre will become Hobson & Porter’s eighth onshore building project in the offshore wind sector, taking total revenues for the building contractor past £20m in a four-year period.
The hull firm first ventured into the offshore renewables sector began in 2014, when the company delivered a new onshore operations base and warehouses for what was then Dong Energy Power (UK) to service its Westermost Rough wind farm.
Hobson & Porter have since delivered five further projects for the same client – now known as Ørsted - on projects throughout the Humber region.
The Hull-based construction firm was also commissioned to undertake a specialist project in the sector in Northern France earlier this year.
Mr Hunter said: “The sector has a very exciting future in the Humber region and we want to play our part by working on schemes that contribute positively to this.
“We are a business which was established in the early 70’s, when the North Sea fishing industries played a huge part in the economic footprint of our area.
“This relatively new, fast-emerging market is testament to the hard work and collaboration of key decision makers in the region and we’re proud to be part of it.”
The Aura Innovation Centre will include a variety of business spaces, and will harness the power of 3D printers, super computers and high-spec testing equipment.
As the centre grows, the aim is to provide SMEs with support and advice through each of the stages of product or service development – from ideas generation through to R&D, testing, analysis and taking the product to market.