New Enterprise Zone aims to create thousands of new jobs in Suffolk and Norfolk

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere at the former sugar beet factory site off Sproughton Road.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere at the former sugar beet factory site off Sproughton Road. - Credit: Archant

A new Enterprize Zone involving 10 development sites across East Anglia, with the potential to create 18,500 jobs, was announced by Chancellor George Osborne today.

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which put together the bid in partnership with local authorities, said the zone, to be promoted under the theme of Space to Innovate, would “act as a powerful magnet to attract new businesses, particularly overseas companies”.

And there was further good news for the LEP with a second application, involving an expansion of the existing Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone, also receiving Governmental approval, paving the way for a further 1,200 jobs.

Enterprise Zones offer a range of benefits to companies including a business rate discount and a simplified planning process. The uplift in rateable values created by development within the zones then forms an income stream to be invested back into growth and regeneration.

The 10 sites making up the new zone – six in Suffolk and four in Norfolk – will focus on key sectors in which the two counties already have specialist expertise, including agri-tech, food and health, offshore energy, ICT and digital and creative sectors and development of the “green” economy.

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They will also link with three new Food Enterprise Zones in Suffolk and Norfolk, which were announced in March this year –the Orwell and Gipping Valley clusters in Suffolk and the Greater Norwich cluster in Norfolk.

Among the 10 sites are four sites in the Greater Ipswich area, from which the income stream will be used to support the Ipswich Vision blueprint for the regeneration and realignment of the town centre. These site are:

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: : Futura Business Park, which aims to attract higher value sectors to 10 hectares of the former Crane site in order to prevent the displacement of retail from the town centre;

: : The Princes Street Office Corridor, involving 2.9 hectares connecting the the railway station with the town centre, which will focus on ICT, digital and professional services businesses;

: : The former sugar factory site between Sproughton Road and the A14, a 14 hectare site (in the Babergh district) with potential for businesses in the agri-tech, food and health sectors; and

: : Waterfront Island, two hectares forming part of the island site separating the Wet Dock in Ipswich from the river Orwell.

The other Suffolk sites included in the new zone are:

: : Suffolk Business Park, Bury St Edmunds, involving a14 hectare site to be developed to the east of Moreton Hall; and

: : Mill Lane Business & Enterprise Park, Stowmarket, a 17 hectare extension of the existing Food Enterprise Zone, located on the edge of the town.

The four Norfolk sites which complete the new zone, which together total around 70 hectares, are located in Norwich, Coltishall, Wells-next-the-Sea and King’s Lynn.

The extension to the existing Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone,involves further land at the existing sites at Beacon Park and South Denes Energy Park in Great Yarmouth,and Mobbs Way and Riverside Road in Lowestoft.

More than 60 bids were submitted to the Government under the second round of Enterprise Zones announced by the Government during the summer, with New Anglia LEP’s being among a total of 26 announced today.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “This is fantastic news for companies locally, nationally and internationally looking to capitalise on the expertise of the East, from world-class food and health research, our thriving all-energy sector and innovation in ICT and digital. This zone will be a magnet for inward investment, help create thousands of jobs and drive our productivity.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer described the announcement as a “win-win”, both assisting the regeneration of the four designated sites in and around the town and helping to support the realisation of the Ipswich Vision.

“I am delighted by this,” he said. “This is one of the most adventurous and exciting local enterprise zones proposed to the Government.”

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “This is a big vote of confidence in Ipswich as a great place to invest and do business. The announcement of new Enterprise Zones at Sproughton, Futura Park, Princes Street and the Island site will help bring millions of pounds and hundreds of new jobs to Ipswich.”

Simon Barrett, Babergh District Council’s portfolio holder for growth and the local economy, added: “Babergh is delighted with this announcement and it is a testament to our strong partnership working with the New Anglia LEP, and other partners across Suffolk and Norfolk, that we have managed to secure these new zone creations in Suffolk.

“In principle this provides a great opportunity for the district to unlock its key site at Sproughton. We will work hard with Ipswich Borough Council, and others, to ensure it delivers.”

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “Promoting economic growth is at the heart of everything we do at St Edmundsbury.

“We have already worked with the New Anglia LEP to secure millions of pounds for the Eastern Relief Road, vital to the delivery of our 68 hectare expansion of the Suffolk Business Park on the edge of Bury St Edmunds, and a move that will create up to 15,000 jobs.

“We have also been lobbying Government for greater control on business rates locally, and the creation of this new Enterprise Zone is excellent news. It will enable us to offer further incentives to achieve our vision for new businesses, new jobs and new growth here in the heart of West Suffolk, and indeed East Anglia.”

Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council’s portfolio holder for economy and Stowmarket regeneration, said: “This is great news for the people and communities in Mid Suffolk and reflects the council’s commitment to working collaboratively to ensure our local economy continues to thrive and achieve its full potential.

“The new Enterprise Zone, which will be an extension of our already secured Food Enterprise Zone, will make Mill Lane and Gateway 14 a more attractive option for businesses. This is a really positive way to ensure Stowmarket’s future sustainable growth and vibrancy.”

Colin Law, leader of Waveney District Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Waveney and the East Coast and underlines the success of the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone.

“Including construction, the zone has delivered over 1,800 jobs and this announcement means more businesses, more jobs and more growth for the sub-region. As shown by the multi-million pound offshore announcement last week, this is a fantastic place to do business and the prospects are getting even better.”

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