Two North West Local Enterprise Partnerships have submitted applications to the Government for new enterprise zones, around the Science Corridor across Cheshire and Warrington, and Hillhouse International Business Park in Lancashire.
The area put forward by the Cheshire & Warrington LEP includes Alderley Park, the nuclear cluster at Birchwood, the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park and several companies in Ellesmere Port.
According to the LEP, if successful the bid would boost the number of science and innovation businesses in Cheshire and Warrington, create new jobs, and lever around £100m to be reinvested in essential infrastructure.
In Lancashire, the bid for a 331-acre enterprise zone around Hillhouse International Business Park in Thornton-Cleveleys was put forward by NPL Group, Wyre Council and Blackpool & Fylde Coast Economic Development Company.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in his summer budget that all LEPs could bid for the opportunity to support an enterprise zone.
Businesses basing themselves on an enterprise zone can access a number of benefits, such as business rate discounts, capital allowances on large investments in plant and machinery, and simpler planning applications.
There are currently 24 enterprise zones across the country, including two in Lancashire at Samlesbury and Warton, in Cheshire around Sci-Tech Daresbury, at Manchester Airport City and Mersey Waters in Liverpool.
If approved, the new enterprise zones are expected to be implemented by April 2016.
Christine Gaskell, chairman of Cheshire & Warrington LEP, said: “Cheshire and Warrington is home to a leading and nationally significant science sector. Its growth will not only support our ambitions outlined in our devolution growth bid to deliver a £50bn economy in the next 25 years, but will support the government’s Northern Powerhouse vision and the growth of the sector at national level.”