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Blackpool Enterprise Zone celebrates first anniversary with rapid growth

Blackpool Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport is celebrating its first year as a dynamic and thriving hub for investment and business growth. Since going ‘live’ on 1 April 2016 the Government backed Enterprise Zone is now home to over 200 businesses and around 1500 employees.

A Year of Success

The Enterprise Zone has already attracted 28 new companies and is hosting 450 new jobs in the area. It is expected to add an extra 2,500 jobs over the next 24 years.

Companies operating in the business park cover diverse industry sectors and range from manufacturers and energy consultancies to accountants and a publishing house.

Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “Progress at the Enterprise Zone is really gaining momentum with new businesses moving in. It is playing a key part in delivering Blackpool Council’s vision for jobs and growth in the area.

“The last year has seen a spurt of activity with new developments, existing buildings adding extra office space, and new warehouse facilities completed.

“We are well on our way to creating within 25 years the 3,000 new jobs that we originally envisaged and achieving our goal to attract 140 new businesses.”

Businesses Grow

Businesses are already going from strength to strength at the site. Engineering firm Force Technology was the first private business to be officially welcomed to the Enterprise Zone last year. The company specialises in high precision spring applications for the automotive, transport and shipping industry.

Steve Williams, Managing Director, Force Technology, said: “We made the right choice basing our company in Blackpool’s Enterprise Zone.

“When we moved in to our premises there were only three of us. Now we have grown to 17 staff. By next year we predict that Force Technology will be employing over 30 staff and we are delighted with the quality of the local workforce.

“There are many factors that have helped deliver this success. The location is ideal with easy access to the transport network. Our premises never fail to impress our customers many of whom are internationally based.

“The support from the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company which is masterminding the development of the Enterprise Zone has been top class. We would highly recommend businesses to locate in Blackpool. It’s a winner.”

In the Pipeline and the Future

The drive for further success is being ramped up as Blackpool Council is preparing a detailed master plan for the scheme that will set the future development of the Enterprise Zone and open up the full potential of the site.

Overall, the Enterprise Zone now has currently over 180,000 sq ft of new development underway and is already generating interest from several more companies.

The Aldi supermarket chain has a new store with a floor space of 1,740 sq m creating around 40 jobs.

Work continues to complete Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Lancashire Energy Headquarters which is expected to open in September when the first students will be welcomed.

The £9.8m flagship development which is backed by £6.2m of Growth Deal funding will provide a high standard training facility, delivering the full range of technical and professional education required by the energy industry, with a particular focus on the green and renewables sectors.

Cllr Smith, commented: “It is anticipated that this exciting facility will be a catalyst for a wide range of new investment from the energy sector within the Enterprise Zone.”

In March of this year, work also began to prepare the ground for another development of a series of units at Dakota Court on nearly an acre of ground at Amy Johnson Way. The development is close to Amy Johnson House which was recently refurbished by AC Electrical and is now fully let.

The new activity follows the launch of the £5m Enterprise Court commercial units project at the south east corner of the Enterprise Zone. Commercial property agents Robert Pinkus & Co is working with the developer on around 64 industrial units for sale.

The first phase of Enterprise Court comprises 12 small business units which can be combined and are suitable for workshop, warehouse and office use measuring 750 sq ft each.

Blackpool Council is also offering additional compelling incentives to businesses. Among the benefits potentially on offer to incoming companies is business rate relief, up to a maximum of £275,000 over a five year period for new businesses locating before May 2023.

Businesses can also benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in fixed plant and machinery for businesses who take occupation by March 2023.

The Enterprise Zone, along with a sister Enterprise Zone at Hillhouse International Business Park in Thornton Cleveleys, is being overseen by the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company (EDC) on behalf of the local authorities and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

For more information contact Rob Green at Blackpool Fylde & Wyre EDC 01253 478729 or email info@bfwedc.co.uk., www.blackpoolez.com