New jobs boost for Dorset

dorset enterprise zone winfrith

Published at 11:20am 4th April 2017.

2,000 new jobs are expected to be created in Dorset with the opening of a new Enterprise Zone.

2,000 new jobs are expected to be created in Dorset with the opening of a new Enterprise Zone.

The Dorset Innovation Park in Winfrith is now open.

The site which is already home to two world leaders in defence technology - QinetiQ and Atlas Elektronik UK is expected to attract dozes of new businesses to the county.

The business park is being marketed internationally as well as locally.

Dorset Innovation Park is a single site, accommodating 56 hectares of employment land. It follows major public sector redevelopment of the former Dorset Green Technology Park by Purbeck District Council, Dorset County Council and Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Having undertaken enabling investment, the HCA is now transferring the site to the local Councils who, working with Dorset LEP will take forward the delivery of the Enterprise Zone.

Dorset Innovation Park is being marketed internationally, nationally and locally as an advanced engineering cluster of excellence for the South West, building on strengths in marine, defence and energy. It is expected to facilitate 2,000 new jobs and attract dozens of new businesses to the area.

Enterprise Zones are part of the Government's strategy to help businesses grow. Hosted by Local Enterprise Partnerships, they provide commercial and industrial businesses with incentives to set up or expand.

Having Enterprise Zone status means that businesses who locate to Dorset Innovation Park will be able to benefit from up to five years of business rate reductions and access to new ultrafast broadband within 12 months. Any business rates collected on the new development will be reinvested in the site over a 25 year period. It is envisioned there will be in the region of £30m of retained business rates to be invested in improving the site and local infrastructure.

The construction of 20 new employment units on the site is already underway as part of a £2.8m project by Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council, including £600,000 secured by Dorset LEP via the Government's Local Growth Fund. These are due for completion in October 2017 and will be fully serviced and let to businesses on 'easy in, easy out' terms.

Local Growth Minister Andrew Percy said "Our modern Industrial Strategy is about creating the right environment for businesses to grow. The 12 new Enterprise Zones will help make sure this happens across the country.

"The new Dorset Enterprise Zone will build on the area's expertise to establish a hub for advanced engineering. The zone is a key part of our Plan for Britain to create a stronger economy."

Gordon Page, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: "Dorset Innovation Park is a key strategic employment site for Dorset LEP and its success is an important element in working towards the objectives set out in our strategic economic vision for Dorset.

"Achieving Enterprise Zone status has enabled much needed extra employment land to be freed up, both for existing companies on the site which are actively looking to expand and for companies across Dorset which are struggling to find space. Dorset LEP is very pleased to launch Dorset Innovation Park as an attractive place to come and do business."

John Sutcliffe, Dorset LEP Board Member and Business Development Director for Atlas Elektronik UK, which plans to expand its current operations at the site, said: "The investment in the Winfrith site is an exciting opportunity for the continued growth and sustainability of advanced engineering in Dorset. Winfrith is already a centre of excellence for innovation with good communication links and a very attractive work life balance. This investment will give other likeminded companies the opportunity to experience the same international success as Atlas Elektronik UK."

Steve Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Purbeck District Council, said: "Securing the future of Dorset Innovation Park is our number one economic development priority, so I am delighted that Enterprise Zone status has been secured for the site, which will help realise its significant potential."

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