Airport City design

Enterprise zones given £45m infrastructure boost

Simon Donohue

A £45m increase in the amount of Government money available for enterprise zone infrastructure projects is expected to significantly accelerate progress at sites across the North West.

Thirteen enterprise zones will receive the new money for 18 projects to build service roads, car parking and other infrastructure, transforming "shovel ready sites into job ready sites".

Successful bids in the North West include the Manchester Airport City and Sci-Tech Daresbury enterprise zones.

The increase in the infrastructure fund from £60m to £104m is designed to help zones reach their real growth potential faster.

Following a competitive bidding process the successful proposals will now undergo further testing to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

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

The North West infrastructure projects are:

  • 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 are required. The site will build on the aerospace capabilities in the region and cater for the specific requirements of an advanced manufacturing facility.
  • Manchester Airport City enterprise zone: funding is being sought to upgrade and install roads and junctions, services and public realm for two sites at Manchester Airport providing more than 2.5m sq ft of employment floorspace. The northern site will focus on office, hotel and leisure, while the southern area will provide logistics and warehousing. Manchester's Airport City enterprise zone has a planning application for the development of a £100m World Logistics Hub that will generate more than 1,800 new jobs over the next decade – in addition to construction jobs.
  • Daresbury EX/East Runcorn, Halton: the Sci-Tech Daresbury enterprise zone is bidding for funding to build two 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 10m sq ft 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.
  • 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.

Benefits of enterprise zone status include significant tax breaks – full business rate relief for five 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; and infrastructure designed with business in mind: excellent transport links and superfast broadband for global business.

Announcing the extra money, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "The Government is putting its money where its mouth is and making sure enterprise zones have the buildings and infrastructure they need to make sites ready for business to set up in.

"Enterprise zones are proving extremely popular with business – they have already created over 3,000 jobs for local people – a 75% increase in just five months – and many more will be coming down the pipeline because of this new support."

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