Region reveals details of Enterprise Zone bid

the Government is to be asked to give the go ahead for an economy boosting Enterprise Zone that will span three of the seven sites that were being proposed for the Sheffield City Region.

Local Enterprise Partnership board members want to see a Zone that takes in sites in the Dearne Valley and surrounding the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverley, which carries on down the M1 corridor to Henry Boot’s Markham Vale development at Junction 29a.

LEP chairman James Newman said: “The LEP Board has agreed to the development of a Zone that will be led by growth in the city region’s key sectors, linked by Advanced Engineering and Technology.

“This will maximise the benefits across the City Region and will support the Partnership’s long-term vision for the economy of the City Region as well as UK plc.”

The LEP wants to create what it describes as an ‘Advanced Engineering and Technology Growth spine,’ that would be linked to the MI corridor and have major developments close to Junctions 36 and 34, as well as 29a.

Proposals for zones in Barnsley and Chesterfield town centres, at Robin Hood Airport and nearby at Harworth have all lost out, but the LEP’s plan offers something for Barnsley, Chesterfield, Rotherham and Sheffield – all key parts of the City Region.

Mr Newman praised all seven proposals, saying a strong case had been put forward for each of them.

The final package of sites that will make up the Enterprise Zone proposal submitted to the Government is still to be decided and will depend on talks involving the LEP, local councils, landowners and the Government itself.

“We still have a little further to go in finalising the exact details of our Enterprise Zone submission and the final proposal will be based on further assessment of its deliverability and of market demand,” said Mr Newman.

In order to secure Government backing, Enterprise Zones have to show they can create economic growth and additional jobs both within the area of the zone itself and the wider city region and bring additional benefits, including stimulating inward investment.

Successful zones will attract investment, developments and jobs through a combination of business rate discounts worth up to £275,000 for each business in the zone, over five years, simplified planning procedures and superfast broadband links.

LEPs will be able to use business rates generated by the zone to invest in other economic growth initiatives for 25 years and regions may be able to borrow on the back of future business rate income to fund infrastructure improvements.