Major economic boost for Dorset as Enterprise Zone opens for business

  • Site renamed as Dorset Innovation Park
  • Aims to create 2,000 new jobs and dozens of new businesses for Dorset over the next 25 years
  • Joint partnership between Dorset LEP, Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council to create new cluster of excellence in advanced engineering
  • Announcement comes during national launch of 12 new enterprise zone sites that are going live across the UK today

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is pleased to announce Dorset’s new Enterprise Zone as open and ready for business.

Dorset Innovation Park in Winfrith is the second largest employment site in the Dorset LEP area. The site already hosts two world leaders in defence technology – QinetiQ and Atlas Elektronik UK – and will now become a major focus for the economic regeneration of South Dorset and a vital stimulus for employment.

Dorset Innovation Park is a single site, accommodating 56 hectares of employment land. It follows major public sector redevelopment of the former Dorset Green Technology Park by Purbeck District Council, Dorset County Council and Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Having undertaken enabling investment, the HCA is now transferring the site to the local Councils who, working with Dorset LEP will take forward the delivery of the Enterprise Zone.

Dorset Innovation Park is being marketed internationally, nationally and locally as an advanced engineering cluster of excellence for the South West, building on strengths in marine, defence and energy. It is expected to facilitate 2,000 new jobs and attract dozens of new businesses to the area.

Enterprise Zones are part of the Government’s strategy to help businesses grow. Hosted by Local Enterprise Partnerships, they provide commercial and industrial businesses with incentives to set up or expand.

Having Enterprise Zone status means that businesses who locate to Dorset Innovation Park will be able to benefit from up to five years of business rate reductions and access to new ultrafast broadband within 12 months. Any business rates collected on the new development will be reinvested in the site over a 25 year period. It is envisioned there will be in the region of £30m of retained business rates to be invested in improving the site and local infrastructure.

The construction of 20 new employment units on the site is already underway as part of a £2.8m project by Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council, including £600,000 secured by Dorset LEP via the Government’s Local Growth Fund. These are due for completion in October 2017 and will be fully serviced and let to businesses on ‘easy in, easy out’ terms.

Gordon Page, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Dorset Innovation Park is a key strategic employment site for Dorset LEP and its success is an important element in working towards the objectives set out in our strategic economic vision for Dorset.

“Achieving Enterprise Zone status has enabled much needed extra employment land to be freed up, both for existing companies on the site which are actively looking to expand and for companies across Dorset which are struggling to find space. Dorset LEP is very pleased to launch Dorset Innovation Park as an attractive place to come and do business.”

John Sutcliffe, Dorset LEP Board Member and Business Development Director for Atlas Elektronik UK, which plans to expand its current operations at the site, said: “The investment in the Winfrith site is an exciting opportunity for the continued growth and sustainability of advanced engineering in Dorset. Winfrith is already a centre of excellence for innovation with good communication links and a very attractive work life balance. This investment will give other likeminded companies the opportunity to experience the same international success as Atlas Elektronik UK.

Steve Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Purbeck District Council, said: “Securing the future of Dorset Innovation Park is our number one economic development priority, so I am delighted that Enterprise Zone status has been secured for the site, which will help realise its significant potential.”

For further information please contact Charlotte Knight, Dorset LEP Communications Manager at cknight@bournemouth.ac.uk or call 01202 962719.

Businesses looking to invest in the site should contact:

Jonathan Sibbett

jonathan@sibbettgregory.com

Jayne Sharman

jayne@sibbettgregory.com

Tel: 01202 661177

Notes to Editors:

  • Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led private and public sector partnership that aims to promote local economic growth and prosperity.  Acting as a strategic gateway to funding, Dorset LEP supports and delivers projects of long term economic benefit for all in Dorset through cross sector partnership
  • Enterprise Zones are geographically defined areas, hosted by LEPs, in which commercial and industrial businesses can receive incentives to set up or expand. Businesses locating to an Enterprise Zone are entitled to business rate discount of up to 100% over a five year period (worth up to £275,000 per business, reimbursed to the local area by Government) as well as enhanced capital allowances for the purchase of machinery and equipment. Enterprise Zones are also subject to radically simplified planning approaches, primarily through the establishment of Local Development Orders.
  • All business rate growth within the Enterprise Zone for a twenty-five year period will be retained by Dorset LEP and reinvested in the development requirements of the site.

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