News story

£59 million fund to accelerate Enterprise Zone growth

A new fund will deliver the infrastructure that Enterprise Zones need to become economic engine rooms and drive growth across the country.

The government is inviting Enterprise Zones to apply for £59 million worth of investment to help “turn shovel ready sites into job ready sites” by completing key infrastructure projects.

This fund will help zones with real growth potential to put in place the infrastructure required to unlock sites so businesses can set up. This could mean links to local road networks or reconfiguring site layouts; upgrading or installing utilities like electricity and water; or reclaiming contaminated land.

A central plank in the government’s economic growth strategy, ministers want to see Enterprise Zones accelerating activity to give them that global competitive edge needed to attract firms. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has asked Local Enterprise Partnerships to have delivery plans for all 24 zones in place by the start of the next financial year.

Eric Pickles said:

“Economic growth is this government’s biggest priority and Enterprise Zones are the engine room of that strategy. They are a fantastic way to attract the jobs and business investment that local areas need. This new £59 million fund will turbo charge that engine by turning shovel ready sites into job ready sites.

“Enterprise Zones have all the raw ingredients and growth incentives - simplified planning, low tax, super fast broadband and inward investment - they need to translate their potential into jobs and growth success. This is an opportunity to lay the infrastructure foundations so they are ‘gift wrapped’ ready to house new businesses.

“It is time for Enterprise Zones to take up the gauntlet of growth. Local Enterprise Partnerships can do more to make zones realise their potential sooner. The government is determined to work flat out with partnerships to clear any roadblocks in their zone’s path so they can forge ahead and deliver the jobs the country’s economy needs.”

Accelerating delivery

Enterprise Zones are designed to stimulate economic growth by offering tax incentives, simplified planning and super fast broadband to attract new business ventures. There are 24 Enterprise Zones made up of 142 sites. Since they opened for business last April, they have already created around 1,700 jobs and attracted £155 million of private sector investment. In the coming months more jobs and investment are expected to come forward.

Across the country Enterprise Zones have already made significant progress:

North East Enterprise Zone - Japanese logistics firm Vantec completed its new logistics centre at Sunderland on 5 February. They already employ more than 100 people and expect to increase to about 230 over the next 2 years.

Nottingham Enterprise Zone - using the £25 million announced by the government in November to unlock the site and lever in a further £200 million of private sector investment to deliver 800 new homes and thousands of jobs at the Boots campus.

Manchester’s Airport City Enterprise Zone - has planning permission for the development of a £100 million World Logistics Hub. The new venture will attract new international businesses and help the existing airport businesses to expand, creating over 1800 new jobs and over one million square feet of high quality logistics space.

Science Vale Oxfordshire Enterprise Zone - construction work is nearing completion on twelve high tech units at Milton Park Science Vale, creating up to 40 new jobs with possibility of further expansion.

Tees Valley Enterprise Zone - has Durable Technologies Limited, a designer of energy efficient lighting systems on site. The award-winning firm will see the size of their premises quadruple to 2,400 squar feet. Over the next 5 years they aim to triple their workforce.

New Anglia Enterprise Zone - Nexus opened a new engineering training centre at Beacon Park, Great Yarmouth last October. Nexus is a company which provides training and resources to develop the engineering skills that businesses expected to move into the enterprise zone need.

Leeds Enterprise Zone - building work has begun on Watershed’s new manufacturing premises at Thornes Farm, creating up to 40 new jobs with the potential for further expansion.

Alconbury Enterprise Zone - former airfield and brownfield site, turned around consent for the marquee ‘incubator’ building in just 36 days and has attracted environmental technology research and design company Enval.

Leicestershire Enterprise Zone - has secured £6 million investment from MIRA technology to develop a transport technology facility, creating 40 jobs.

Royal Docks Enterprise Zone - Siemens opened a £30 million sustainable hub last September. Innovative glass-clad structure which will be home to Siemens’ global Centre of Competence Cities, providing 230 jobs and attract 100,000 visitors per year.

Greater Birmingham Enterprise Zone - Among the sites already progressing within the Enterprise Zone are the £450 million transformation of Paradise Circus by developers Argent and the relocation of the historic Assay Office to the £160 million St Georges development in the Jewellery Quarter. It expects to give the local economy a £2.8 billion annual boost and create 40,000 new jobs.

For more information on each of the zones go to the Enterprise Zones website.

Further information

This fund is part of the Local Infrastructure Fund announced in the Autumn Statement which provides £474 million for infrastructure investment and other site preparation works that will support economic growth, jobs and homes. The fund will operate for England only. The Local Infrastructure Fund Prospectus also invites locally-led large housing sites to come forward.

Enterprise Zones reflect the government’s core belief that economic growth and job creation should be led by the private sector. The zones are focused on removing barriers to private sector growth with lower tax levels for business and a simplified planning regime and a lighter regulatory and administrative burden.

The Enterprise Zone Programme is made up of 24 zones and over 140 sites covering approx 3,400 hectares, ranging from 0.18 to 279 hectares. Largest zones are in Humber - Humber Renewable Energy Super Custer and Humber Green Port Corridor - totalling around 480 hectares.

The 24 Enterprise Zones opened for business in April 2012. In their first 9 months, they secured £155 million of private sector investment, created 60,000 square feet of floorspace and attracted around 1700 jobs - notably 500 aerospace jobs at Moog (Black Country) and 300 new jobs on the Temple Quarter site (Bristol).

Enterprise Zones have secured over £160 million of public sector investment, with £36 million coming from Growing Places Fund. Other sources include Regional Growth Fund, ERDF and Pinch Point Funding.

Enterprise Zones have different ambitions, reflected in their sectoral focus:

  • offshore wind - New Anglia, Humber, Tees Valley and North East
  • advanced manufacturing - Black Country, Leeds and Sheffield
  • city centres linked to station redevelopment - Birmingham, Northampton and Bristol
  • redeveloping former dock areas - London Royal Docks and Liverpool Mersey Waters
  • expanding existing science parks - Oxfordshire, Hereford, Daresbury and Leicestershire
  • clustering around existing large manufacturing anchor tenants - Lancashire (BAE) and Nottingham (Alliance Boots)
  • supporting expansion of business around airports - Cornwall and Manchester
  • redeveloping former military airfields - Solent and Cambridge Alconbury)
  • start-ups and spin offs in the pharmaceuticals / health sciences sector - Sandwich and Harlow

All Enterprise Zones have a form of simplified planning in place - currently up to 35 Local Development Orders on 13 zones.

All Enterprise Zones benefit from:

  • a business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per eligible business over a 5 year period
  • all business rates growth within the zone for a period of at least 25 years will be shared and retained by the local area, to support the Partnership’s economic priorities and ensure that growth is reinvested locally
  • simplified planning approaches, including Local Development Orders
  • the rollout of superfast broadband

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