CAMBRIDGESHIRE is seeing a real buzz in the business community says County Council Leader Nick Clarke after hearing companies are already interested in locating in the new Enterprise Zone at Alconbury.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Clarke has been speaking to Sir Bob Kerslake, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, about the zone’s merits.
Councillor Clarke and Chief Executive Mark Lloyd took a fact finding tour of the Alconbury site on Wednesday. They heard from developers Urban & Civic how the business community is already looking at what benefits the newly announced zone will bring and is keen to find out more about the developer’s plans.
On Friday, Councillor Clarke got an opportunity to meet with Sir Bob Kerslake, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government. He left him with a very clear impression that Cambridgeshire is open for business, and that the Enterprise Zone will bring huge benefits for the whole of the Local Enterprise Partnership area.
The Enterprise Zone proposal will mean around 8,000 new jobs for workers as companies will be given incentives to set up on a 370-acre section of the Alconbury Airfield site.
A number of businesses have been contacting the developer and the Local Enterprise Partnership expressing their interest. Within 24 hours of the announcement that Alconbury was to be an Enterprise Zone, Councillor Clarke was approached directly by company looking to relocate operations from Europe to the UK.
Every company that sets up on the site will receive a 5 year business rate discount; for smaller or start up operations, this could amount to as much as 100 per cent. The Government has also pledged to ensure superfast broadband is rolled out at the successful site and it will work with the local authority to support companies which are located there. Planning issues in the zone will be resolved quickly.
The location was submitted by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to the Government in June and news of the success of the bid was received in August.
Councillor Clarke said: “There is a real buzz in the business community about Cambridgeshire and it is fantastic news to hear that companies are already getting in touch with the developers. Urban & Civic were just as excited as we all have been locally of this great opportunity to bring thousands of new jobs into Cambridgeshire and to spread that prosperity to all our communities within the Local Enterprise Partnership area. With the new Enterprise Zone, the proposals for Northstowe, as well as the superfast broadband we aim to bring into Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, we are in pole position to kick start the local and national economy. This is a message we have now taken to the heart of Government in a really productive meeting with Sir Bob Kerslake. Cambridgeshire is truly open for business and we welcome companies to come and talk to the Local Enterprise Partnership about how they can be part of our and the country’s economic success story.”