The Heart of the South West LEP Enterprise Zone takes a step forward as the LEP is awarded £35,000 from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to develop the zone at Huntspill and Exeter & East Devon.
Enterprise Zone status for these sites (one at Huntspill Energy Park in Somerset and four in Exeter and East Devon: Exeter Science Park, Skypark, Cranbrook and Exeter Airport) was announced in 2015. Across these sites, the zone has the potential to deliver 22,000 jobs and generate £360million in business rates which will be re-invested locally.
Enterprise Zones enable the local area to retain a greater share of business rate income which would otherwise be returned to national government. They offer discounted rates to new businesses locating in the zones and a preferential planning regime.
The grant will be matched by a further £35,000 from East Devon District Council and Sedgemoor Council. The money will be spent on a range of activities including State Aid advice, marketing, planning and legal support.
Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley CBE DL said:
“We welcome this new funding which is another step in the development of our enterprise zones. The LEP-wide package builds on the existing zone, Oceansgate in Plymouth, to offer economic opportunities for each of the key sectors in our strategic economic plan: Marine, Environmental Futures and New Nuclear.
“Enterprise Zones at these three key sites will benefit the whole of the Heart of the South West economy as the sites are strategically placed along the M5 to Plymouth transport route and will generate jobs and growth throughout the area.”
Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Cllr Duncan McGinty, said:
“We welcome the news regarding the funding from DCLG. It will help us to cover some initial cost relating to the delivery of the enterprise zone. And we look forward to taking the project further.”
Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council said:
“We are all working hard to bring the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone from the drawing board to becoming a reality. This funding from Government is an important step in helping us to realise our plans to further boost our appeal to businesses and investors, whilst allowing us to reinvest funds here in future local growth initiatives.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Growth and Exeter, and the Council’s member on the Board of The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“This new funding from government is another vote of confidence in our area. These sites provide excellent facilities and good accessibility for businesses wishing to set up bases here, and we look forward to working with partners to develop and market them.”