Enterprise zones boost attraction as South Bank 'explodes' with opportunity

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 24 Apr 2017

A BIG OPPORTUNITY presented by enterprise zones as the South Bank's role in the Energy Estuary materialises has been flagged up to the area's key support network.

Professionals working within the business community have been briefed on funding potential and other vital services as InvestmentHub NEL is further rolled out.

And a key focus was the land offer, and benefits negotiated to come with it.

Mark Webb (pictured left) , who chairs North East Lincolnshire's Development and Growth Board, and economic development officer David Robinson spoke at the event, at Grimsby's Europarc.

Mr Webb said: "Throughout all the meetings I have been involved in during the past six to 12 months, North East Lincolnshire is verging on the cusp of growing, doing something great in the UK. We are primed to explode.

"The renewable sector, while slow to start, is now starting to bear fruit, with more investment and more jobs being created. This is the beginning."

The new year has seen a Food Enterprise Zone granted for the flagship business park, and this was also touched on by Mr Webb.

"Anyone who thinks the food industry is an old thing needs to start thinking again," he said. "This is at the heart of North East Lincolnshire. We are seeing the council and the private sector come together to make sure we capitalise on the economic hopes of this area. Never before has central Government had so much attention and focus on North East Lincolnshire and around the Humber.

"There is enormous potential for us, great opportunity for business."

And the managing director of E-Factor, the support network built on a £19 million Government grant a decade ago, said: " There is no doubt businesses are going to have to battle and fight to make sure they get busier out of this opportunity, to make sure they grab as much of that new business coming our way.

"In that battle these businesses have a great reserve bench, a great team behind them, who all come together for businesses to win in North East Lincolnshire. This is a great place to do business with that team behind you."

Mr Robinson (pictured right), who has extensive experience of working in the food and renewables sectors, dug deep into the work that has opened up strategic South Bank land.

Having recently returned from MIPIM, an international property show in France which he attended with Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, he said: "The property offer locally hasn't been the best. We have relatively small amounts of available property and what we have got is not of the best quality. Working strategically, with Government, the big opportunity which we now have is 200 hectares of enterprise zone.

"The Humber, including the South Bank, has the biggest enterprise zone by a massive majority compared to any other in the country. It is based, predominantly, around offshore and marine, but we are not solely looking at that.

"We are dealing with enquiries today about some of the sites we are talking about and we anticipate we will see real investment in the next year to 18 months. There are real opportunities going forward for the area. We have always focused on it, and we are strongly enshrined in the sectors, ports and logistics, food manufacturing and energy and renewables.

Focusing on the latter, a founder member of the Grimsby Renewables Partnership, he said: "Five or six years ago we had one site, now there are 450 people working in it and it is only going to get bigger.

"Essentially we have six power stations here and the number of investment enquiries we are having, there is some quite chunky investment coming through in the next 12 to 18 months."

And he covered other elements of the industrial mix too. "The Humber bank has been home to chemical process industry ever since World War Two and is a major footprint," Mr Robinson said. "We have two oil refineries that process 25 per cent of the UK requirement, in essence we have major multinational businesses running with very highly skilled people, which have international presence in their industry."

Which enterprise zones offers what:

STALLINGBOROUGH: 64 ha Enhanced capital allowances
HUMBER GATE: 21 ha Enhanced capital allowances
IMM-PORT KING'S ROAD 21 ha Business rate discount
QUEEN'S ROAD: 10 ha Business rate discount
HOBSON WAY: 28 ha Business rate discount
MOODY LANE: 45 ha Enhanced capital allowance
PORT OF GRIMSBY: 11 ha Business rate discount

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