Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth: New Anglia LEP launches Enterprise Zone bid

SUFFOLK and Norfolk’s new economic development body hopes to beat off stiff national competition to create an enterprise zone which would benefit areas of deprivation around Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is to submit a bid to the Government to create the zone which, if successful, could bring thousands of jobs to the area.

Businesses within enterprise zones will benefit from a reduction in their business rates, a relaxation of planning rules to encourage development, and the roll-out of superfast broadband.

The Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft scheme has been chosen by the LEP board from among a number of proposals within the two counties.

Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia LEP and chief executive of Adnams, said he was impressed with the quality of the proposals put forward, but the board believed the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft bid offered the best chance of success.

He said: “The proposals were independently assessed against the priorities of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the criteria being developed by the Government to assess bids.

“After careful consideration the board felt the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft proposal offers the best chance of success in what will be a tough competition for one of just 10 enterprise zones.”

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Earlier this year the Government announced a first wave of enterprise zones in major cities. LEPs across England have been invited to submit bids for 10 more enterprise zones, with the locations due to be chosen by the Government this summer.

Competition is expected to be fierce, with around 30 bids expected, and the Government’s policy of re-balancing the economy is expected to favour locations in the North.

Areas across Suffolk and Norfolk were invited to submit potential sites to be considered by the New Anglia LEP board, which met for the first time last week.

They considered bids covering Bury St Edmunds, King’s Lynn, the Norwich Research Park and Broadland, but chose to back the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft proposal, which will be spread across four sites in the two towns and focused on attracting new businesses and jobs in the energy sector and related industries.

“We will be working with colleagues from Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft over the next few weeks to put together the best possible case to the Government,” said Mr Wood.

“We recognise that securing an enterprise zone will be challenging, but we are determined to do whatever we can to drive forward the economies of Norfolk and Suffolk,” he added.