East Devon District Council is celebrating following George Osborne’s announcement that their joint bid with Sedgemoor District Council for enterprise zone status was approved.
The enterprise zone bid, which was approved yesterday (Wednesday 25 November 2015) as part of the Autumn Statement, comprises of five sites across two locations in the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership area, 4 in East Devon and 1 near Bridgwater in Sedgemoor.
The Enterprise Zone combines the innovation led offer of Exeter Science Park, the low carbon credentials of SkyPark, expansion space for the successful Exeter Airport business park and the development of the new community of Cranbrook as a small enterprise town, with the South West’s largest brownfield (previously developed) site at Huntspill Energy Park near Bridgewater, all linked within the M5 corridor.
What does an enterprise zone offer?
The local area being able to keep 100% of the growth in business rates over 25 years, to re-invest in infrastructure and growth generating projects. Companies are attracted to enterprise zones by the offer of discounted business rates, a simplified planning regime and the opportunity to work with other businesses and initiatives already established in the allocated zone.
The bid was prepared by the East Devon District Council and Sedgemoor District Council in partnership with Devon and Somerset County Councils and represents months of work in partnership with the LEP in order to meet criteria set by Government.
Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council said:
“We are over the moon to be awarded Enterprise Zone status as important recognition of East Devon’s strategy for growth with the potential to provide 10,000 jobs and 18,000 homes in East Devon.
“We welcome the chance to work in partnership with Devon, Somerset and Sedgemoor Councils, to bring improved efficiency as the way forward for the future. The partnership will gain by sharing expertise and resources, and benefit from shared campaigns for inward investment and supply chain opportunities, as well as providing business support encouraging businesses to locate here.
“The news is a welcome complement for our work with Innovation Exeter and complements the chosen site for the Met Office Supercomputer” (at the Exeter Science Park).
The East Devon Enterprise Zone includes four sites totalling 87 hectares at Exeter Science Park; Skypark; Airport Business Park; and employment sites in Cranbrook. It represents a strong strategic fit to complement the government’s investment in the new MET Office supercomputer. The East Devon sites will be a platform for growth in the environment science and data analytics cluster. The investment will secure growth and create new site infrastructure.