An ambitious scheme for a West Hertfordshire ‘enterprise zone’ has been given the green light, and is expected to create thousands of new jobs.
Chancellor George Osborne announced it as one of 18 new zones across the country in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement (November 25).
The West Herts scheme will be an ‘EnviroTech Enterprise Zone’ which will have an emphasis on environmental technology.
Supporters claim that the zones offer advantages to both local authorities and businesses alike, creating jobs and attracting new businesses.
Councillor Andrew Williams, leader of Dacorum Borough Council, said: “The Enterprise Zone has the potential to become of international importance, representing a key gateway to London and the UK for global investors wanting advanced manufacturing and distribution space, as well as high tech, potentially exemplar sustainable office provision.
“This opportunity also paves the way to supply business start-up/small business incubation space at the research establishments, and move on space for growing businesses.”
The bid for government funding was led by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), along with St Albans City and District Council and Dacorum Borough Council submitted its bid.
It is a multi-site bid covering various sites in Dacorum, including Maylands Business Park, land west of Green Lane, and land near Buncefield.
Councillor Julian Daly, who is an LEP board member, said: “We are long-term champions of the aim to make the most of the green technology ‘know how’.
“An EnviroTech Enterprise Zone will help us advance this agenda.
“It can bring new firms and highly skilled jobs to the county which is welcome.”
Enterprise Zone companies can get tax discounts and they pay their bu siness rates to district councils, who then invest it in the region – instead of the money going to central government.
The zones are expected to attract more money to spend on infrastructure across the region.
Businesses benefit in various ways from enterprise zones. They can have a 100 per cent discount on their business rate worth up to £275,000 per business over a five-year period
Firms can also double the amount of tax relief on large investments in plant and machinery.
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning said: “This is great news, the bidding process was highly competitive and it is a credit to the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and local councils that West Hertfordshire was one of the 18 successful bids.
“There is a lot of potential here and it is a great location to do business. This is very positive step towards attracting new investment and creating more jobs.”