A MULTI-million pound scheme to expand Malvern Hills Science Park is set to create 150 jobs.

The county’s only science park has unveiled plans for its fourth phase, a new building which will provide 25,000sq ft of offices and lab space.

The park was originally opened in 1999 to provide opportunities for high-tech start-up companies spun off from town defence contractor QinetiQ.

Now it is home to 23 businesses, employing more than 300 people, making it one of the most significant employers in the area.

Science park chief executive Alan White said: “As these science park companies operate in high-growth sectors, the park is now full to capacity. Expansion is necessary to ensure these successful businesses can continue to grow in Malvern to safeguard existing jobs and create others.”

The expansion could also allow new businesses to move in.

Among the science park’s backers are Malvern Hills District Council, and Worcestershire County Council, which have invested £350,000 and £3,650,000 respectively in the next phase. Economic analysis predicts that the science park investment will generate an extra £1.3-£2 million annually for the local economy.

Councillor Phil Grove, Malvern Hills District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, said: “The submission of this application marks the latest step forward in the development of the science park as a key location for local and regional technology growth.

“The proposed development represents a major move towards ensuring the area can retain and develop new technology-based businesses and high-quality jobs in line with both the district and county economic prosperity priorities.”

The county council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, Coun Simon Geraghty, said: “Malvern Hills Science Park is a great success story, not only for Malvern but for the county as a whole.

“The park’s continued development will further strengthen our economy by attracting high-quality businesses and business people consolidating the reputation of Malvern in the defence and cyber security sectors.”

A planning application has been submitted to the district council. If approved, it is hoped work will begin at the end of this year.