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Government announces new Enterprise Zone for East Kent

The Enterprise Zone package for Discovery Park will encourage new start up businesses and other investors with simplified planning rules and…

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The Enterprise Zone package for Discovery Park will encourage new start up businesses and other investors with simplified planning rules and millions of pounds in tax breaks to promote growth.

This complements the investment to strengthen flood defences for Sandwich town and Discovery Park. The works, scheduled to be completed in 2015, will increase the protection for the area to a one in 200 or 0.05% chance of flooding in any one year, securing a sustainable future for the area and for the Town.

The scheme will increase the protection for 488 households, the new Discovery Park site, valuable infrastructure, including the main coastal access routes, and key tourist and employment areas. The scheme is estimated to cost £25 million and will be funded by contributions from the Environment Agency, Kent County Council, and Pfizer as current owners of the Discovery Park site.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“The new Enterprise Zone will provide a significant economic boost to the South East, creating jobs and helping many new businesses to start up and grow. This is great opportunity for new businesses locating in the area to take advantage of tax breaks and super-fast broadband.”

“I also warmly welcome the decision by Kent County Council and Pfizer to work with the Environment Agency to safeguard the future of the Sandwich town and the Enterprise Zone area from flooding.

“Together, these announcements are a great achievement by the Sandwich Economic Task Force. The Government is keen to make use of the specialist skills in the area, and to maintain a life sciences hub in East Kent. This scheme will provide security to thousands of households and unlock another major economic opportunity.”

Communities and Local Government Minister Greg Clark, with responsibility for Enterprise Zones, said:

“Never has there been a more important time to unleash the potential of our towns and cities as engines for growth. The decision to award East Kent its Enterprise Zone status shows how much promise it has to deliver much needed new jobs and homes. The people of Kent, its local businesses and civic leaders are ready to take up the reins of the local economy, with the Discovery Park at the centre of their plan to accelerate growth.”

Flooding Minster Richard Benyon said:

“This example at Sandwich shows that we can provide flood protection to many more households and businesses when private and public funding comes together. I’m delighted that Government, the Environment Agency and local people working with Pfizer have managed to secure flood protection for hundreds of homes and an important site for the local economy as well as for the historic town.”

Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council and Chair of the Sandwich Economic Task Force said:

“Securing an Enterprise Zone and sorting out the flood defences to secure the site are massively important in enabling inward investment and job creation to take place. Not only have we been able to negotiate flood protection for the Sandwich site, but also for the residents and businesses of Sandwich town.

“This is really good news for Sandwich and East Kent and I am extremely grateful to the Environment Agency, BIS, DEFRA, Pfizer and KCC for sitting round the table and brokering a solution. We can now really move forward negotiations with a number of potential investors to ensure that Sandwich delivers new jobs and opportunities as one of the new generation of Enterprise Zones.”

Pfizer Sandwich Site Head Dr Annette Doherty said:

“We are delighted about today’s announcement of Enterprise Zone status for Discovery Park, and we hope the benefits will help facilitate the marketing of the campus to new occupiers, particularly smaller businesses, where costs are most keenly felt.

“This, along with Pfizer’s announcement in June that we’re retaining a Pharmaceutical Sciences presence on the site, will give a great boost for the future of Discovery Park.

“We were pleased to be able to work with the Environment Agency and Kent County Council to contribute to a flood defence scheme for Sandwich Town that included Discovery Park.”

Agreement to proceed to strengthen the flood defences is a key achievement from the Sandwich Economic Task Force, set up in February 2011 to respond to the announcement that Pfizer were leaving the Sandwich site, and act on wider economic development for East Kent.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Willetts and Greg Clark visited Discovery Park to see first hand the marketing of Discovery Park to potential buyers and users and hear about Pfizer’s plans for a retained presence in pharmaceutical sciences at the site.
  2. The flood defence scheme will be funded through the new partnership funding approach.
  3. The South East Local Enterprise Partnership submitted two bids, one for Sandwich and one for Harlow. Central Government has decided to offer the partnership the opportunity for both to be given some aspect of an Enterprise Zone - businesses locating in the Sandwich site will receive a business rate discount, while the partnership will receive the uplift in business rates over 25 years from the Harlow site.
  4. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone




Name Alex. Hamilton Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5976 Fax



Published 17 August 2011