Boost to Enterprise Zone is cleared for take off

A green light for four new projects in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone will see an increase in the delivery of employment space and unlock new jobs for the area.

An £8m fund was agreed by East Devon District Council’s April Cabinet to enable delivery of key projects.  Subject to final approval being given at East Devon’s Full Council, these projects can then move forward in conjunction with partners at Devon County Council and Exeter Airport.  Specific projects are:

£530,000 over 3 years for an enhanced bus service connecting the Enterprise Zone and Exeter, with some services also running to Woodbury and Exmouth. 

This will be for a 3 year period from summer 2018.

£1.355m as match funding for a Park and Change site at Exeter Science Park providing over 300 car park spaces next to bike lockers and an electric bike sharing station.

£1.4m forward-funding for upgrading the Instrument Landing System at Exeter Airport. A lack of operational headroom in the current system is preventing nearby development and the upgrade will allow new development at Skypark and Exeter Airport Business Park. The cost of the new landing system will be recouped from developers.

Up to £100k to enable a design scheme for the upgrade of Long Lane.  The improvements are needed to allow access to the expansion of Exeter Airport Business Park.

The £8m fund will be created against future ring-fenced business rate income, with £3.4m currently allocated to these four projects.

East Devon District Council’s Leader, Cllr Paul Diviani said: “The Zone has just celebrated its first anniversary and is already seeing businesses taking advantage of the business rate relief scheme.

“Going forward, we need to invest in the Zone to overcome barriers to growth and support catalytic investments.  The four projects will help to unlock new commercial space and ultimately help to support around 10,000 new jobs across the Enterprise Zone area.”

Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, Cllr Stuart Barker said: “Investing in future economic growth is key to the success of our businesses, the creation of new jobs and a prosperous local economy.

“The work on upgrading Long Lane is another example of our excellent track record of investing in infrastructure to support the Devon economy. The enhanced bus service and park and change will provide more travel choices for people working in the Enterprise Zone and beyond. They will help to reduce congestion, supporting the wider transport strategy for the area.”

Steve Hindley, CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “I am delighted to see further investment in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone, which is part of the Heart of the South West’s portfolio of Enterprise Zones, which focus on the area’s strengths in the key sectors. We have the knowledge-based businesses and environmental futures here in Exeter; nuclear and low carbon energy at Huntspill in Somerset; a world-class marine centre at Oceansgate in Plymouth, and a new Food Enterprise Zone at the Bath and West Showground.

“The HotSW Enterprise Zones offer discounted businesses rates which are directly re-invested into the area, and are targeted at new and expanding businesses. The LEP will be working with government and partners locally to secure further investment and bring forward the next phases of development of these strategically important sites.”

The Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone, across four sites totalling 87 hectares at Exeter Science Park, Skypark, Airport Business Park and Cranbrook town centre presents a good strategic fit to complement the government’s investment in the new MET Office supercomputer. The East Devon sites will be a platform for growth in the environment science and data analytics cluster, and the investment will secure growth and create new site infrastructure.