At its meeting on November 10, Bath & North East Somerset Council approved plans to expand the Bath and Somer Valley Enterprise Zone, which aim to be a major boost to plans for regeneration, investment and growth in the area.
Enterprise Zones are designated areas across England that provide tax breaks and incentives for businesses, who can claim up to five years of Business Rate relief, and benefit from Government support for investment in roads, transport and broadband services. They are great places to do business for both new and expanding firms.
It was announced in late 2015 that, as well as Bath, the Somer Valley is set to benefit from Enterprise Zone status; at that time it included the Old Mills site in Paulton.
Since then the Council has looked at including additional sites in the Somer Valley within the zone and also along the A4 corridor at Keynsham.
Working with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, the Council has, at the request of government, put together a business case which has been the subject of initial discussions with DCLG. The Council has approved the basis of the proposals prior to further detailed discussions and formal submission in December this year which will now go to The Department for Communities and Local Government; (DCLG) for determination.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “These plans have a significant role in supporting the Cabinet’s priority of creating more homes and jobs; particularly our wider vision for a thriving Somer Valley with more local employment opportunities. Expanding the Enterprise Zone could provide a real boost to the economy of the Somer Valley, including opportunities for business to relocate and grow, bringing investment and jobs. The new sites could help to address Somer Valley’s above average reliance on manufacturing employment and help to build Keynsham’s employment base – taking advantage of the town’s location between Bristol and Bath.
“The Bath and Somer Valley Enterprise Zone aims to make the most of the opportunities for linking the area’s economy to this flourishing hi-tech business environment in Bath and Bristol. This is likely to include investment in superfast broadband to unlock the full economic potential of the area. The success of the bid is down to the excellent joint working and the partnerships fostered through the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.”