Four thousand new jobs could be heading for Ellesmere Port thanks to a huge new enterprise zone initiative.
The nationally important bid, intended to secure major growth for what is known as the Cheshire science corridor, had approval from the Government last year.
The concept links together Cheshire and Warrington’s nationally and internationally significant research facilities.
These run from the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park on Pool Lane, Ince, and leading science and technology-based companies in Ellesmere Port through to enterprises in the north and east of the county.
The initiative and the prospect of new jobs has now taken a further step forward with a decision by the borough council’s Labour controlled cabinet to back the science corridor. It is revealed the zone will include 10 sites in Ellesmere Port where incoming firms will have a number of benefits including business rate discounts and enhanced tax relief on capital investments.
'Significant' number of jobs would be created
The council’s director of places strategy Alison Knight told councillors in a report almost 60ha of land would be offered for development.
Sites would be available at Hooton Park, Hooton, the Newport Business Park opposite Cheshire Oaks , the former DSM Resins land at Cromwell Road, Dutton Green, two sites in Cloister Way, the former Sims land on South Road, Stanney Mill Road, Protos, formerly known as the Ince Recovery Park, and Thornton Science Park.
Overall the science corridor would accelerate the significant growth potential of the sub region’s cluster of science and innovation industries and create 15,200 new jobs by 2030 with 390 businesses attracted to Cheshire and Warrington, said the director.
She added: “Due to the scale of the sites designated in Ellesmere Port any resulting job creation will be very significant.”
Council sources have confirmed it is expected 4,000 of these jobs could arise on the sites in and around the town.
Enterprise zone status, which is internationally recognised, is said to boost the marketing of the sites and the science corridor as a whole to future investors and tenants.
The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), set up to drive development in the sub region, said at the time it was ‘delighted’ the Government had decided to award enterprise zone status to the corridor.
The LEP described the decision as ‘an important step in realising the ambitions for Cheshire and Warrington to become a £50bn economy in the next 25 years’.
This would support the government’s Northern Powerhouse vision and the growth of science based enterprises at national level.
Christine Gaskell, chairman of the partnership, said: “Our aim is to make Cheshire and Warrington the best place in the country to set up and grow a business and the Cheshire science corridor enterprise zone will be a flagship of this initiative.”
The decision was welcomed by Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders , who described the announcement as ‘positive news’.
He commented: “I hope that this will lead to more major employers deciding to locate in this area attracted by the tax advantages an enterprise zone brings and that people in Ellesmere Port and Neston will be the first to benefit from any high-skilled, well-paid jobs that are created.”