Boost for Business as Dorset Green Gains Enterprise Zone Status
Purbeck District Council has helped to secure the future of employment land in the district, thanks to a successful bid for Enterprise Zone status.
The Council, in partnership with Dorset County Council, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has been awarded Enterprise Zone status for land at Dorset Green Technology Park, formerly known as the Winfrith Atomic Energy Authority Site.
The granting of this status follows an application by the LEP to the Government in September 2015, developed by Purbeck District Council with the support of the HCA.
Enterprise Zones are part of the government’s long-term economic plan to support business and the creation of jobs by transferring the leadership of growth to local areas.
Councillor Cherry Brooks, Economy and Infrastructure Spokesperson for Purbeck District Council, said:
“This is a great opportunity to stimulate regeneration that will increase jobs, not only in the district but across Dorset. It also provides the impetus to create an advanced engineering cluster of excellence here in Purbeck.”
Councillor Brooks continued:
“Dorset Green is a significant asset for the district and the Council is committed to its future success. Enterprise Zone status is a huge boost for the existing businesses, providing confidence in the site’s long-term future.This status will also provide significant encouragement for new private sector investment in the site.”
Enterprise Zone status provides a range of benefits for businesses, including a 5- year business rate holiday for companies relocating to a site with the status. It also enables business rates generated from new development to be retained and spent locally to support the site.
Other benefits include access to superfast broadband and streamlined planning permission.
The Dorset LEP, which recognises the opportunities provided by Dorset Green, supported the application.
Chairman of the LEP, Gordon Page, said:
"The success of the Enterprise Zone application is a testament to Dorset's councils and businesses working together for the benefit of Dorset's economy.
“We welcome the government's decision. It will help unlock the huge potential of the Dorset Green site, enabling existing businesses to expand and encouraging others to join them, helping to boost the rural economy and contributing to Dorset's overall competitiveness."
Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council are in the process of acquiring 6.2 hectares of land on the 40 hectare site from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which is the freehold owner.
This purchase follows the announcement that the current leaseholders of the site had gone into receivership in 2014. Investment was needed in the site to provide reassurance to existing thriving businesses on the site and build future confidence.
The land at Dorset Green is owned by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the Government’s national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England.
Kevin Bourner, Head of Area for the HCA says:
“When we acquired the Dorset Green site in 2014 we were determined to ensure it became a major asset for the local economy. Today’s announcement is a huge boost to the package of measures we’ve already put in place, which will create new jobs and attract vital private investment. By working alongside Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council, a strong partnership has been formed across the public sector, to drive the site forward towards a prosperous future.”
The District and County Council will now roll out their plans for the site in 2016, including commencement of the building of units for small and medium-sized businesses. A detailed marketing campaign will also be put in place to attract developers to provide business space for local, national and international companies, complementing the growing global businesses already on site.
For more information on the Enterprise Zone, contact: Richard Wilson, Environmental Design Manager, Planning and Community Services, Purbeck District Council. Telephone 01929 556561
Background to the awarding of the Dorset Enterprise Zone
In February 2015, Purbeck District Council agreed to the partnership acquisition of land at Dorset Green and investment in small workspace development. This is part of a much larger ambitious programme to deliver workspace, innovation space and defence related research facilities. The acquisition has been delayed in order to resolve certain matters relating to title, with a start on site now planned for January 2016. It is anticipated that Enterprise Zone Status will greatly assist the marketing, sale and securing of further growth deal funding for this site.
There are currently 24 Enterprise Zones in England. Incentives provided by Enterprise Zone status for occupiers and the LEPs are:
- LEPs retaining 100% of business rate growth over 25 years; the Government expectation is that this will be used to fund development on the EZ site.
- A business rate discount for occupiers: Central Government will reimburse a 100% discount for five years (up to £275,000 per business over a five year period).
- The Government is building on the success of the existing 24 Enterprise Zones which by December 2014 had attracted 15,500 jobs around the country since they were introduced and delivered a multi-million pound boost to local economies.
Once EZs have been designated, LEPs are expected to lead delivery, working closely with local partners. This would include local planning authorities.
The Leaders’ Growth Board and LEP have considered the options for Enterprise Zone status across Dorset and have agreed that Dorset Green is the best fit, in terms of the Government’s objectives, recognising market failure and opportunities.
Unlocking development at Dorset Green is one of the Council’s two top priorities alongside Holton Heath, already supported by the LEP, within the economic development strategy and published growth strategy: www.dorsetforyou.com/economicdevelopment/purbeck
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are new partnership organisations across natural economic areas, led by the private sector and including the public sector, making them better placed to identify the needs of the local economy and vitally, to speed up their recovery and growth.
About the HCA
The HCA is the Government’s national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England and manages around 8,900ha of land.
In 2014/15 the HCA:
- Helped build more than 50,000 new homes in England through its investments and land
- Helped complete a further 27,785 homes through Help to Buy equity loans, designed to help people into home ownership
- Made enough public sector land available to create more than 8,000 new homes