DRAPER VENTILATION is set to build a £1.7m research and innovation centre at Dorset Innovation Park in Wool, Dorchester.

The firm will use the new facility to aid its work in developing computerised climate control systems for the agricultural sector.

The project secured a £740,000 loan from the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which will contribute to the total cost of land and building works.

It will centralise the company’s existing workforce, as well as create an apprenticeship programme with local colleges.

Building works will include a new 470m2 HQ office space, as well as R&D testing and training facilities for existing and potential customers.

Construction will start this month on the adjacent 1,250m2 research and innovation centre, which will be used for product demonstrations, storage and product distribution.

By 2025, Dorset LEP expects draperVENT to safeguard 18 jobs, create 20 new jobs and increase group-wide company turnover to more than £20 million.

Paul Draper, managing director of the Draper Group, said: “Dorset was the perfect place to take draperVENT to the next level because of its drive and determination to see agri-tech businesses succeed.

“The Dorset Innovation Park plot provides us with an opportunity to develop, test, promote, store and distribute our products while we benefit from reduced business rates and the opportunity for collaboration with other technical on-site businesses.

It marks a further expansion of Dorset’s agri-tech sector, now worth more than £108m.

Luke Rake, Principal of Kingston Maurward College and Dorset LEP board member said: “Dorset’s Local Industrial Strategy identifies agri-tech as a high-growth sector for Dorset and it’s fantastic to have innovative companies like draperVENT settle in our county.