Enterprise zone for Exeter and East Devon steps forward

PUBLISHED: 15:20 11 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:20 11 November 2016

Archant

A ‘win-win’ scheme to boost new and growing businesses in Exeter and East Devon moved a step closer after council chiefs struck a deal with Government.

The cabinets of Devon County Council and East Devon District Council (EDDC) this week both signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ to develop an enterprise zone.

Covering Skypark, Science Park, Cranbrook town centre and the Airport Business Park extension, it would be in place for 25 years and bring in an estimated £10million per year.

The zone would provide a range of incentives to attract and support businesses that are setting up or growing, including a five year business rate reduction funded by Government, which could be worth up to £275,000.

The zone also marks a major shift in that additional business rates generated from within the zone will be reinvested locally to further support economic growth.

Council bosses say this will help to ensure the future success of the zone alongside working with partners such as the Heart of the South West local enterprise partnership.

The councils also approved a business rates relief policy to avoid any potential negative impacts. This ensures that only those businesses that are genuinely expanding can relocate to the zone and safeguards against the potential for companies to be displaced from other parts of the county.

Existing businesses in Devon would need to provide evidence that there is no appropriate expansion space available at their current sites. Businesses already trading in the zone would receive discretionary rate relief if they are looking for larger premises to expand their turnover or workforce or both.

County councillor Andrew Leadbetter, cabinet member for economy and growth, said the enterprise zone will be useful for attracting inward investment.

EDDC leader Paul Diviani said the move is a ‘win-win’, adding: “It further enhances our attractiveness to businesses and investors whilst giving us local control to reinvest the funds raised to further promote growth right here.

“The memorandum of understanding and related policies then also provides us with the framework and reassurance that all partners will be better off as a result of the creation of the enterprise zone.”

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