Enterprise zone confirmed for South Yard

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted: Friday, August 21, 2015 - 05:37

South west to benefit from its second government-backed enterprise zone - which will create hundreds of local jobs.

Visiting Plymouth’s South Yard naval dockyard, the Chancellor confirmed it has now been approved as the site for a new enterprise zone that will be focused on growing the marine industry.

The confirmation comes after an announcement earlier this year that the site would be cleared to become an enterprise zone subject to business case approval.

The South Yard naval dockyard site has already received almost £10 million in funding through the government’s City and Growth Deals and the designation of enterprise zone status could speed up development by three years. It is estimated that the plans for the site will deliver 55,000 square metres of new floor space, providing space for hundreds of new jobs and offering a unique opportunity to develop the deep water access and facilities that Plymouth is renowned for.

Enterprise zones have already provided a major boost to the UK economy, attracting more than 15,500 jobs, attracting over 480 companies and drawing down £2 billion in private investment.

Offering top-class business incentives, including allowing local enterprise partnerships to retain all business rates growth to reinvest in local economies, the enterprise zones have transformed many derelict and challenging sites.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: "The South Yard is a fantastic location for growing companies in the marine sector and in becoming an Enterprise Zone it will play a vital role in driving forward the south west economy, creating jobs and attracting investment.

"The South West is right at the heart of this government’s plans to rebalance our economy and end the decades-old gap between London and the rest of the country. Today’s announcement builds on our long term plan for the region."

In response to the Treasury announcement today that the Heart of the South West’s first Enterprise Zone has been designated at South Yard, Plymouth, HotSW LEP and Plymouth City Council are at the ready to harness the opportunities for transformational growth for businesses in Plymouth and throughout the area.

The scale of commitment and ambition helped Plymouth and the Peninsula seal the deal for the Enterprise Zone business case, said Council leader Tudor Evans.

He said: “We wanted to impress upon the Government that the level of commitment and ambition we have for the South Yard is shared across the peninsula as we will all benefit from having an even stronger marine sector.

“The marine industries production campus we want to see here is a key part of the City Deal programme, which could create more than 9,000 jobs and bring in more than £290 million in much-needed investment to the South West.

“Enterprise Zone status will make this campus more attractive to investors as it means they can put more money into their business, which is good for company growth and good for jobs.

“We have had a lot of interest in the site already and this is another carrot to dangle in front of companies. It is great example of how working with local economic partnerships not only pays dividends for the city but has wider benefits for the region.”

Having the South Yard designated as an enterprise zone brings major benefits for businesses based there including business rate discounts, faster broadband speeds and tax breaks.

Under the deal, the Heart of the South West LEP will use the business rates collected over the next 25 years to pay for investments into South Yard, helping to speed up the rate development of the site; attracting more businesses and generating more growth.

Heart of the South West LEP Chair, Steve Hindley said: “This is a historic achievement for the HotSW LEP and Plymouth City Council, and is a further step on our journey towards transformational growth. Plymouth City Council has worked tirelessly on putting together this impressive bid that has enabled the LEP to secure its first Enterprise Zone within the Heart of the South West area.

“The innovative scheme has attracted much attention as an exemplar in regeneration, with visits from senior government and civil service people this year - including the Prime Minister - so we welcome the Chancellor on his visit today.”

Naval Base Commander Cdr Shipperley added: “We have been working hard with the city council and the LEP and I am pleased to see this progress. It is a very important development for the economy of Plymouth and the wider peninsula and this status will further strengthen its new and exciting future.”

The business case submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government designates the whole of South Yard an Enterprise Zone amounting to 35 hectares.

The Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership (HotSW LEP) is accountable for the delivery of the Enterprise Zone, working with Plymouth City Council.

A 25 hectare area including the historic docks in South Yard is planned to be released by MoD to support the City Deal, enabling land and docking facilities to be brought into commercial and naval use.

Plans for a marine industries production campus was granted outline planning permission and in June Plymouth City Council gave the go-ahead to hire specialist technical and design contractors to take on the complex task of preparing and developing the site for its new future.

Photo: South Yard © Copyright Roger Geach and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.