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Bristol Enterprise Zone and its impact on planning

In March this year the chancellor, George Osborne announced that Bristol would be one of the 21 new Enterprise Zones. The zones are being proposed as a way of encouraging investment and stimulating business growth.

As yet the exact site has not been confirmed but the Board of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership has been tasked with deciding the most suitable location. A meeting of the Board, chaired by Chris Skellett, Executive Chairman at Wessex Water, on 12th April concluded that 'Work is going on to evaluate the potential sites for an Enterprise Zone. The Board have agreed criteria and an independent verification process. The Enterprise Zone will generate funding which the LEP hope to be able to use to bring benefits across the whole of the West of England.'

One of the ways in which the Government hopes to stimulate investment and growth is to relax the Planning regime. Details have not been given but this is one of a number of policy tools which are being made available to all 21 zones:

  • a 100% business rate discount worth up to £275,000 over a five year period for businesses that move into an Enterprise Zone during the course of this Parliament;
  • all business rates growth within the zone for a period of at least 25 years will be retained and shared by the local authorities in the Local enterprise Partnership (LEP) area to support their economic priorities;
  • Government and local authority to help to develop radically simplified planning approaches in the zone; and
  • Government support to ensure superfast broadband is rolled out in the zone. This will be achieved through guaranteeing the most supportive planning environment and, if necessary, public funding.

As more details become available we will post updates to this article. One thing for sure, businesses choosing to invest in property will require sound property consultancy and legal advice.

Article written by Patrick O'Connor - Kenneth and Edwards Limited