Top award for Dorset's second largest employment site

Dorset and Purbeck FSB LA Award winners 2017

Published at 11:26am 15th September 2017.

Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council have won an award for the new Dorset Innovation Park Enterprise Zone at Winfrith

The Dorset Innovation Park, the county's second largest employment site has won an award.

Dorset County and Purbeck District Council have been given the accolade by The Federation of Small Businesses for their work on the site at Winfrith.

The councils stepped in when the previous owners went into receivership.

The Park now has Enterprise Zone Status which means commercial and industrial businesses can receive incentives to set up or expand.

Councillor Suttle said:  "When the site's previous owners went into receivership, the councils and Dorset LEP took decisive action to save the site from total collapse. We were committed to restoring confidence to existing companies and secure its future as the base for advanced engineering businesses."

Councillor Suttle continued: "The former nuclear energy test site presented a unique and challenging opportunity for economic growth and I am proud that we have been recognised for our commitment".

The park is already home to world leaders in marine, defence and advanced engineering, including Atlas Elektronik, QinetiQ and Optasense. The commercial proposition is to create a sector focus in an advanced engineering cluster of excellence building on strengths in marine, defence and energy.

The site is strategically important for Dorset and is recognised by the Department for International Trade as a strategic employment site marketed for inward investment activity.

Rob Dunford, Interim Director Dorset LEP said: "For Dorset LEP the Enterprise Zone represents significant government commitment to Dorset's long-term economic growth and the development of Dorset Innovation Park Enterprise Zone is a priority for the LEP. We are accountable to government for the success of the Enterprise Zone over a 25 year period and will continue to work closely with our local partners on taking it forward."

Cllr Deborah Croney, Cabinet member for economy, education, learning and skills at Dorset County Council, said: "Dorset Innovation Park represents a significant commitment and investment by the two local authorities and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership to economic growth and support for small businesses.  We are delighted that this initiative has been recognised by FSB.  

"Helping to grow our small business community is a key priority, not just in terms of economy and growth, but also for employment opportunities in the local economy."

Neil Eames, Development Manager for FSB Wessex, said: "We are delighted to acknowledge the councils for their ongoing commitment to providing support for small businesses to prosper and grow. By working together, they have shown a clear commitment to providing a range of initiatives that help small businesses realise their full potential and we are delighted to acknowledge this.

"It is very encouraging to see such great efforts from local councils and we hope that the Awards provide them with a platform to share their successes in promoting and championing local economic development."

The construction of 20 new employment units on the site is nearing completion as part of a £2.5m workspace project by Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council, made possible by funding 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. Contact agents Sibbett Gregory on 01202 661177 or visit

The Dorset Innovation Park is expected to facilitate 2,000 jobs, 55 new businesses, 58,000m² of new workspace and some £30 million of new business rates to be re-invested by Dorset LEP in improving the site and local infrastructure.

Small businesses will benefit from new and existing workspace, business rate holidays, simplified planning process, the ability to collaborate with similar size and large companies from innovation through to supply chains, easy access to support services provided by the Dorset Growth Hub, and ultrafast broadband.

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