Jobs boost for Wisbech and Chatteris if Fenland enterprise zones bid is a success

Wisbech being considered by Fenland Council for one of two enterprise zones. The second is in Chatte

Wisbech being considered by Fenland Council for one of two enterprise zones. The second is in Chatteris - Credit: Archant

Two enterprise zones could be set up in Fenland – one at Wisbech and another at Chatteris- to encourage business growth.

Fenland Council has agreed to move ahead with the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to bid for Government cash to establish both zones.

Huge advantages for businesses opening up or locating to enterprise zones include 100 per cent business rate discount of up to £55,000 a year for five years, simplified planning, superfast broadband, and 100 per cent enhanced capital allowances.

Corporate director Gary Garford told cabinet members such zones would be based on ‘clean’ sites with little or no business occupants and can comprise private and public sector owned land.

“Targeting such sites will reduce the risks of favouring incumbent businesses with little added value to the economy of the area,” he said.

If approval is given Fenland would join an elite ‘club’ of 48 existing enterprise zones that have been set up in England. The cabinet was told these have attracted £2.4 billion of private sector investment and attracted nearly 24,000 jobs.

Councillors believe a Wisbech enterprise zone could specialise in business and commercial end use to provide jobs aligned to housing growth with a focus on food packaging and distribution. The Chatteris zone would focus on precision engineering, fabrication and the associated supply chain. Mr Garford’s report said enterprise zones have the ability to attract more foreign investment.

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