Enterprise Zone deadline looms

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SHEFFIELD City Region local authorities and their partners have been given until Friday to submit proposals to have a new Enterprise Zone in their area.

The city region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) says it has already received a number of proposals and hopes to announce its recommendation, based on criteria designed to maximise the region’s potential for economic growth, by the end of May.

LEP chairman, James Newman, said: “This is a huge opportunity for the Sheffield City Region to maximise on the economic growth that an Enterprise Zone will stimulate.

“In considering proposals the LEP Board will ensure it is focused on zones that will bring most benefit to the Sheffield City Region as a whole, and which meet the Government’s requirements.”

In order to be considered, Enterprise Zones must be a clearly defined geographical area of 50 to 150 hectares (123 to 370 acres) and owned by a single organisation or a number of organisations working collaboratively.

Proponents have to identify the characteristics of the businesses to be retained or attracted and the local planning authority must willing and able to simplify the planning process for developments within the Zone.

The LEP also wants Enterprise Zones to deliver economic growth and additional jobs, attract expanding indigenous or new businesses that would not otherwise expand or locate in the City Region, bring together a package of additional benefits which will add value to the Zone and the wider City Region and meet a number of other criteria.

It adds that there must be no delays if the government approves a proposal.

Zones must be “ready to go now,” says the LEP.

n The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership was established in October to drive forward the city region’s economic development.

It brings together the eight local authorities of Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire, Rotherham and Sheffield to work with businesses and other partners to create “a common prosperous and sustainable City Region.”