Sheffield Chamber of Commerce is calling for a concerted effort to get a rapid Government go-ahead for the region’s Enterprise Zone proposals.
The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership has decided to combine three of the seven local bids for Enterprise Zone status into a single Advanced Engineering and Technology Growth Spine Zone linked to the M1 corridor.
Local Enterprise Partnership board members want to see a Zone that takes in sites in the Dearne Valley and surrounding the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverley, which carries on down the M1 corridor to Henry Boot’s Markham Vale development at Junction 29a.
Sheffield Chamber acting executive director Richard Wright said: “From the outset of this process, the Chamber said it would back the decision of the LEP. We now need to move forward and ensure that it is the right decision for the region.
“It is now about quickly moving onto the next stage, getting government approval and getting the right management in place to deliver the benefits as quickly as possible.”
The Enterprise Zone announcement was welcomed by Andrew Denniff, executive director of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, who said the Chamber was ‘delighted’ that the Zone spanned two areas within the Barnsley and Rotherham district.
Mr Denniff said: “We must realise that the decision has been based on what is the best opportunity for the whole city region.
“We must now get on with the job in hand and both encourage and facilitate an environment for business to do what it does best – generate wealth that will create and provide long-term, sustainable employment right across our region.”
In order to secure Government backing, Enterprise Zones have to show they can create economic growth and additional jobs both within the area of the Zone itself and the wider city region and bring additional benefits, including stimulating inward investment.
Successful Zones will attract investment, developments and jobs through a combination of business rate discounts worth up to £275,000 for each business in the Zone, over five years, simplified planning procedures and superfast broadband links.
LEPs will be able to use business rates generated by the Zone to invest in other economic growth initiatives for 25 years and regions may be able to borrow on the back of future business rate income to fund infrastructure improvements.