BAE zone all set for April take off

Aerial picture of BAE Warton.
Aerial picture of BAE Warton.
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WARTON’S new 185 acre Enterprise Zone is just weeks away.

The zone – on the BAE site and adjoining land – will open for business in April.

It will operate alongside a new 180-acre zone at BAE in Samlesbury.

It is estimated about 1,200 high-value jobs will be created on the combined zone, with around 20 companies expected to be established by 2015.

Councillors have ordered work to start on preparing a Local Development Order (LDO).

Firms will benefit from a business rate discount, a simplified planning regime through the LDO, tax incentives and a commitment of Whitehall support to ensure the zone’s long-term viability.

Coun Trevor Fiddler, Fylde’s cabinet member for planning and development, said: “The sooner that this comes the better for Fylde. One of the council’s corporate objectives is to promote a thriving economy. It is vital that we get the initial LDO covering the first phase of development in place for April so that companies won’t be delayed any more than is necessary in getting planning permission.

“The aim of the zone is to encourage entrepreneurs and that means tax advantages and a minimum of red tape. We are determined to back their efforts to create jobs.”

Eleven Enterprise Zones are being created nationwide. Work on the Warton/Samlesbury zone is being led by Lancashire Enterprise Partnership of which Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council are constituent parts.

One problem of similar zones in the 1980s was that some companies merely shifted existing jobs into the zones to gain the tax benefits – meaning that jobs were gained in the zones at the expense of jobs being lost elsewhere.

Companies wanting to trade from the new zones will have to show they are “growing” new jobs, rather than displacing existing jobs, before they are accepted into the new zone. A further advantage is that future increases in business rates will be retained and ringfenced to support future economic growth locally.