LEP has high hopes for £59m Enterprise Zone fund

Published 25th February 2013 at 9:19am

The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is today welcoming the Government’s announcement to make £59 million available to Enterprise Zones so that key infrastructure projects can be completed more quickly.

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said,

“We welcome news of the Government’s Enterprise Zone infrastructure fund which we hope to be able to use to accelerate private sector business growth and create sustainable high value jobs in the Sheffield City Region.

“We want to make it as straight-forward as possible for businesses to move onto our Zone and we hope that this fund will make it easier for us to do that. We have been listening to potential business investors and Enterprise Zone landowners, who are calling for more ready-made premises to be available.

“We also hope that the process for applying to the fund will be as hassle-free as possible and that funds will be made available quickly.”

Details of the Government’s new fund have been eagerly anticipated by the LEP, following the Chancellor’s announcement as part of his Autumn statement.

The Government will today unveil a prospectus for the new fund, which has been created to help Enterprise Zones with real growth potential to put in place the infrastructure required to unlock sites so businesses can set up.

Enterprise Zones are described by Whitehall as a ‘central plank’ in the Government’s economic growth strategy and senior ministers are keen to further accelerate activity and give zones like the Sheffield City Region a global competitive edge.

The Sheffield City Region LEP will be keen to learn more about the finer details of the fund following today’s announcement. The Government has, so far, said that the fund will be used for projects such as connections to local road networks or reconfiguring site layouts, upgrading or installing utilities like electricity and water, and land remediation of contaminated sites.

The LEP is hopeful that the fund will also be made available for investment in high quality modern manufacturing spaces, so growing companies can get set up on their Zone more quickly. This has been an area in which the Sheffield City Region has experienced considerable success, with fifteen modern manufacturing and technology companies locating or expanding in the zone since April 2012.

In April 2012, X:Cel Superturn was one of many companies to benefit from the incentives on offer at the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone. X:Cel Superturn is a global manufacturer of machined components which expanded its operations to the Enterprise Zone, after winning a major contract worth over £18 million. Andrew Taylor, Managing Director of X:Cel Superturn, said:

“Many of our suppliers are based in the Sheffield City Region, and there is a lot of technical expertise in the area, so setting up our flagship operation at the Enterprise Zone was a bit of a no-brainer.

“The process was made easy for us as the Enterprise Zone could offer suitable premises so I could set up our operations quickly and start delivering on the new contract. I had to move fast to set up to seal the deal with the Zone as most of the park’s available business spaces were already occupied.”