England's array of Enterprise Zones go operational

Published on Thursday, 12 April 2012 12:44
Posted by Scott Buckler

The next generation of Enterprise Zones are now 'operational sites' with 'live deals' immediately available for aspiring new businesses, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced today

Every Enterprise Zone can now offer immediate tax breaks to businesses as soon as they move onto the site. The discount provides up to 100 per cent relief to new businesses for five years. Government is meeting the costs.

Each Zone is finalising ambitious simplified planning requirements for their sites. Many are using special locally developed planning regimes known as 'Local Development Orders' to grant automatic planning permission for certain development, such as new industrial buildings or a change to how existing buildings are used, within specified areas. This gives interested firms certainty about the development that will be allowed and removes the delays and costs associated with applying for planning permission.

Two thirds of the Zones will have at least one of these orders in place by the summer. Many of them will have multiple orders for their different sites. 18 orders have already been agreed, while eight more have completed the public consultation stage. A further 40 are in the pipeline.

Mr Pickles saw first hand how these planning changes are working on a visit to the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone, where six orders are now in place.

The Secretary of State looked around a company that is expanding their premises into the Beacon Park Technology Park because of enterprise zone incentives including the simplified planning arrangements.

Seajacks is a leading operator of purpose built self-propelled jack-up vessels for offshore wind farms in the North Sea.

The orders in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone permit energy related development including new buildings, extensions, roads, telecommunications and low-carbon energy installations. All its sites will have superfast broadband by late 2012.

Six councils in the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone have today agreed a deal for a uniform and more 'business friendly' planning approach with quicker permissions expected. Global manufacturer, X:Cel Superturn, is using a new £18 million contract to rapidly expand its operation into the Zone.

The Zones are also attracting foreign investors, showing Britain is great for business. Just last week Japanese logistics firm Vantec, a subsidiary of Nissan, became the first overseas company to invest, £24 million, in an Enterprise Zone, taking advantage of Sunderland's Enhanced Capital Allowances.

Eric Pickles said:

"Local business and private sector commerce turn the wheels of our economy creating the jobs this country needs. This Government has set about fostering local enterprise and creating the conditions for businesses to thrive.

"This week our low tax, low regulation, Enterprise Zones with superfast networks are going operational with live deals and incentives now available to entice new companies to the area.

"We've planted these economic incubators all across the country to help accelerate growth, rebalance our economy with thousands of new businesses and local jobs in each location.

"Enterprise Zones are set to become the crown jewels of how we make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business."

The Budget 2011 announced that the Government would create a new generation of Enterprise Zones with simplified planning rules, super-fast broadband and tax breaks for businesses, would be established in local enterprise partnerships across England. The Zones have the potential to create tens of thousands of new jobs by 2015.

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