Worcestershire LEP stands by plans for Kidderminster Enterprise Zone

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is standing by its proposals for South Kidderminster Enterprise Zone saying plans can still go ahead, regardless of today’s (17th August 2011) announcement by Government.

Chair of Worcestershire LEP Peter Pawsey said that despite the disappointment, WLEP remains confident in its proposals that could lead to the creation of more than 4,000 new jobs in the area.

“We won’t neglect Kidderminster.  We will be sitting down with Wyre Forest District Council and the ReWyre team to plan the creation of our own enterprise zone for the South Kidderminster Advanced Manufacturing & Business Park because many of the business benefits can still be applied as was confirmed by the Department for Communities and Local Government today.  Indeed, they told me they are setting up a taskforce to help and advise in that regard.

“The potential for offering business tax rebates and setting up special, simplified planning procedures through Local Development Orders can still happen, and we’ll be talking to our partners to help bring this forward.  DCLG also confirmed that tax increment financing can still be used to fund infrastructure.

“We’ll also be making sure the delivery of superfast broadband is made an absolute priority, and equally we’ll be looking to speed up its delivery along the whole M5 corridor.

“Discussions with Worcestershire County Highways will continue in regard to the improvement of the A449 and other key road links to Kidderminster.  And improvements to the railway station are also planned.

“This all means that we can still make Kidderminster an extremely attractive proposition to relocating businesses.

“Our priority remains to bring new businesses into the area, create additional wealth and much needed jobs, and we’ll be focussing on that without delay.”

Located in traditional industrial areas along the well established Stourport Road and Worcester Road areas, the park would be a catalyst for reviving the area’s fortunes added Mr Pawsey.

“Our aim is to regenerate the manufacturing and technology area around Kidderminster, with improved infrastructure, including the proposed Hoo Brook Link Road.

“We already have 40 hectares of cleared land immediately available for new development at the former British Sugar and Romwire sites, so we want to be in the best position to attract businesses as soon as possible.”

The area currently has 5,000 employees and several leading businesses, such as Victoria Carpets, Sealine, Brintons, Vision Labs, Beakbane, OGL and Lawrences Recycling within the area.

The Worcestershire submission was one of 29 bids submitted to Government by LEPs nationally competing for 10 enterprise zone spots, but was not selected on this occasion.