Enterprise boost for Vale business parks

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne

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Thousands of new jobs could be created after Arla/ Woodlands was among three Vale sites to be given 
Enterprise Zone status.

Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to create 18 new enterprise zones across the UK as part of last week’s spending review.

Enterprise Zones are areas which encourage firms to set up and expand in, mainly due to relaxed planning regulations and financial incentives.

The new Vale zones are the Westcott Venture Park and Arla/Woodlands as well as the Silverstone Business Park.

Richard Harrington, chief executive of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, said he is ‘delighted’ with the news.

Enterprise Zone companies can get tax discounts and they pay their business rates to district councils, who then invest it in the region – instead of the money going to central government.

The zones are expected to attract more money to spend on infrastructure across the region.

Councillor Steve Bowles, vice-chairman of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP and the AVDC cabinet member for economic development, said: “This news is a fantastic boost for the local economy, we already have world class businesses operating on the three sites and by securing the prestigious Enterprise Zone status we will be able to offer further support for our existing businesses and help attract new investment.”

The area around Arla in Aston Clinton is set to become a hub for food manufacturing, while the Woodlands development nearby could create up to 9,000 new jobs.

Westcott Venture Park in the west of the Vale is expanding fast and is becoming a major space production 
hub.

Silverstone Business Park, run by business estate developer MEPC, is scheduled to open in phases over the next decade. It is predicted that by 2024, there will be 200 firms creating 8,000 new jobs.

Mr Harrington described Silverstone Business Park as having ‘untapped potential to add value to its high performance technology/motorsport sector’.

He said the ‘scale and specialised nature’ of the development will enable the region to ‘challenge internationally as a major new employment location’.

Development Manager Jim Sims said: “Silverstone is the heart of motorsport anyway and this makes the marketing of Aylesbury Vale even easier. As it gives the area the ability to stand out from the crowd.

“It firms up our story and place, and it makes it a lot easier to have conversations with businesses.”