The investment announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickle is intended to help enterprise zones attract business and create thousands of local jobs.

Thirteen enterprise zones have been green lighted to receive the new money for 18 projects to build service roads, car parking and other infrastructure, transforming ‘shovel ready sites into job ready sites’.

The fund, originally £60 million, is designed to help zones reach their real growth potential faster as economic engine rooms of local economies. Following a competitive bidding process the successful proposals will now undergo further testing to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

Enterprise zones have already created 3,000 new jobs, attracted 126 businesses, generated 105,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace and secured almost £229 million of extra private sector investment.

In addition to this 5 enterprise zones are also receiving £24 million to tackle traffic bottlenecks and road congestion near their site through Department for Transport funding.

The £104 million made available for enterprise zones includes £45 million from the Homes and Communities Agency in addition to the £59 millionLocal Infrastructure Fund announced at the last Autumn Statement.

The list of shortlisted enterprise zones include:

Aerohub Business Park, Newquay, Cornwall: the investment would support the creation of a new Business Park adjacent to Newquay Airport, assisting Cornwall Council and local enterprise partnership bring to the market the sites needed to develop new aerospace related employment

Enterprise West Essex at Harlow, London Road: this project is to develop a new Life Sciences Medtech Innovation Centre alongside the existing Nortel Campus. The investment could support enabling infrastructure and site preparation works at the ex, London Road enterprise zone to enable 22,000 square metres of high grade office space.

Solent enterprise zone at Daedalus Airfield: the investment will enable the design and construction of a new 3,000 sq m business incubation centre for small and micro businesses seeking a flexible presence on the enterprise zone. It is hoped that these businesses will expand into new units being built as part of the wider regeneration project.

Masshouse – Birmingham City Centre enterprise zone: this scheme requires support for high quality public realm works together with essential public car parking in order to build major city centre office employment space.

Kirkeatham Business Park – Tees Valley enterprise zone: investment is sought to fund a new service road to support approximately 4 hectares of commercial land for development. The local authority are in the process of acquiring the land with the intention to sell smaller parcels to companies, particularly small and medium sized enterprises in the advanced manufacturing sector, who want to build their own premises on a piece meal basis.

Queens Meadow Business Park – Tees Valley enterprise zone: this scheme requires investment support for a new service road service approximately 4 hectares of commercial land for development. The intention is to improve the takeup of sites by selling smaller parcels of land to companies, likely to be small and medium sized enterprises in the advanced manufacturing sector, who want to build their own premises.

Sheffield City Region enterprise zone – Waverly: the Waverley site is the region’s largest mixed use – employment and housing – site and is planned to provide 140,000 square metres of commercial floorspace. The investment could be used to support infrastructure and site preparation works to unlock the development.

Logic Leeds – Aire Valley enterprise zone: the investment is required to accelerate the delivery of the Innovation Health Hub (IHH) on the Logic Leeds site through an access road and supporting infrastructure work. The infrastructure works will tackle drainage and flood risk for the site and bring forward the site preparation and servicing, including utilities, for initial development platforms for the new buildings.

Tower Road South, Wirral Waters enterprise zone, Liverpool: the scheme’s vision is for a ‘jobs driven’ international city waterfront on the Birkenhead and Wallasey docks, creating over 20,000 jobs and 14,000 new homes in the area. Investment is sought for site preparation and remediation infrastructure works to prepare a key element of the Tower Road South site, a planned mixed use quarter including a college or university technical college for maritime engineering.

Brough, Humber Green Port Corridor enterprise zone, East Riding of Yorkshire: Bridgehouse and BAE Systems are planning to transform a single manufacturing facility into a site suitable for many new businesses to start up. The site currently needs remediation and infrastructure work to meet environmental compliance, as well as carrying out flood risk mitigation work and installing data infrastructure.

Discovery Park, Dover: the 220 acre, former Pfizer site at Discovery Park, in Sandwich, Kent, is one of the largest research and development facilities in Europe. The enterprise zone is bidding for investment to refurbish and redesign three buildings, which were originally built for a single company. Once completed, the buildings will offer a range of offices and labs to conference space and meetings rooms.

Manchester Airport City enterprise zone: funding is being sought to upgrade and install roads and junctions, services and public realm for 2 sites at Manchester Airport providing more than 230,000 square metres of employment floorspace. The northern site will focus on office, hotel and leisure, while the southern area will provide logistics and warehousing.

Sheffield Business Park Phase 2, Sheffield: Sheffield Business Park is one of Yorkshire’s largest business parks, providing more than 2,000 jobs for the area. The Sheffield City Region enterprise zone has bid for investment to support a new road and related infrastructure work for Phase 2 of development of more than 83,000 square metres of general or bespoke offices, business, manufacturing and warehousing opportunities.

Daresbury EX/East Runcorn, Halton: the Sci-Tech Daresbury enterprise zone is bidding for funding to build 2 new bridges over the Bridgewater canal to enable development of the new homes on the site. The enterprise zone will create 10,000 high quality jobs across several hundred technology companies and developing over 1 million square metres of specialised office, laboratory and technical space.

Poulton Road, Beaufort Road, Wirral: Wirral Waters is planning to transform 500 acres and more of Birkenhead docklands and surrounding area from a deprived, under-used, environmentally poor area to a successful, mixed-use, high density place to live and work. The enterprise zone has bid for funding to remediate the West Float site as well as improve local highways to link the development to the nearby International trade centre and the advanced engineering automotive park.

Arena Central, Birmingham: Arena Central is a 9.2 acre regeneration site in the heart of Birmingham City Centre. The enterprise zone has applied for investment to demolish the remaining buildings on the site, including a registry office, exhibition hall and TV studios. The investment will also fund a new pedestrian link between Broad Street and Holliday Street and help create ready development plots on Bridge Street and Broad Street.

Argyle Works, Birmingham: the Greater Birmingham and Solihull local enterprise partnership are upgrading the city’s digital infrastructure, bringing ultra-fast broadband to the area and boosting business. The local enterprise partnership are bidding for investment to convert a warehouse into a new data facility on Great Barr Street, in an area which could act as gateway to the Digbeth and city centre enterprise zones.

Lancashire enterprise zones Samlesbury, Ribble Valley: to make this enterprise zone area, which sits within the current BAE Systems site, attractive to investors and tenants a new access road and utilities is required. The site will build on the aerospace capabilities in the region and cater for the specific requirements of an advanced manufacturing facility.

On 31 May the Department for Transport announcement the second tranche of funding from the £170 million Local Pinch Point Fund. In total, 5 enterprise zones benefited from £24 million to tackle key bottlenecks:

Birmingham City Centre enterprise zone has received £5.9 million for 2 projects: enhancements to relieve congestion and safety concerns on the city’s ring road, and expansion of facilities at 3 park and ride locations into Birmingham City Centre, including provision for car sharing bays, electric vehicle charging points and cycle hubs

Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft enterprise zone has received £9.4 million for 2 projects: a new link road to unlock significant housing development and employment land immediately to the west of the enterprise zone, and for phase 5 of the Lowestoft Northern Spine Road. The scheme will provide a 1.1 km new single carriageway and shared walk/cycleway between the Millennium Way/Bentley Drive roundabout and north of the Blundeston Road junction on the A12.

Science Vale UK enterprise Zone in Oxfordshire has received £5 million for the provision of an innovative ‘hamburger’ style roundabout enabling the junction to operate effectively within planned levels of growth for the area and helping to manage traffic onto the A34. This funding is subject to further clarification on design/technical issues, with the Highways Agency and the council working on the details.

North East enterprise zone received £1.8 million for improvements at 3 strategic junctions required to support the development of the Sunderland Low Carbon Zone. The 3 junctions are located at the intersection of principal routes (A1231, A183 and A690) with the A19 at Sunderland.

Black Country enterprise zone received £2.5 million to improve the standard of the road from Headway Road to Patshull Avenue. An additional right turn facility at Pendeford Business Park will also be provided to reduce delays to ahead traffic.

The benefits to business of enterprise zones is that they are good on taxation, planning restrictions and IT capacity – the 3 things most often cited as new business deterrents:

  • significant tax breaks – full business rate relief for 5 years, worth £275,000
  • smart and simple planning rules with automatic green lights for particular businesses mean fast-track development and rapid start-up potential
  • infrastructure designed with business in mind: excellent transport links and superfast broadband for global business too

Additional enterprise zone benefits for business include:

  • Britain now has the lowest corporation tax in the G7
  • each zone was carefully located in a major business cities or place set to become commercial or hi-tech business hubs
  • each zone has a specific focus so potential customers and suppliers can easily see where like-minded businesses, supply chains and workforce expertise are
  • local councils are committed through new financial incentives from government
  • ‘soft landing’ packages with pre-agreed developer deals, accountants or estate agents make it even easier to set up a business

Examples of progress

A recent Deloitte report described Bristol zone as a ‘magnet for investment’ with the “enterprise zone at the heart of this growth”.

Sheffield and Birmingham were recently listed in the top 50 global enterprise zones.

Royal Docks just announced a £1 billion deal with a Chinese investor to build a 3.2 million square feet state-of-the-art business park for Chinese and Far East businesses.

Ashok Leyland, India’s second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer recently announced that they will be opening a research and development centre at MIRA Technology Park in Leicester’s enterprise zone.

Northampton, home of the Waterside enterprise zone, was recently cited as making the best economic recovery in the UK by the Centre for Cities. Only in May Freefoam Building Products announced that over 40 jobs will be created as the company expands in the enterprise zone.

Renewable energy company, Estover Energy, has announced plans to develop a £65 million biomass plant at Discovery Park enterprise zone that will supply renewable heat and electricity across the 220-acre park and create 160 jobs.

Vantec, the Japanese logistics firm completed their new logistics centre at the North East enterprise zone at the start of February and expect to more than double employment (to 230) on the site. Due to the ongoing success in attracting investment, they have been have granted a 40 hectare extension to the zone.

Manchester’s Airport City enterprise zone has a planning application for the development of a £100 million World Logistics Hub that will generate more than 1,800 new jobs over the next decade – in addition to construction jobs.