Cheshire Science Corridor enterprise zone launched

Birchwood Park Image copyright Google
Image caption Warrington's Birchwood Park is part of the 'Cheshire Science Corridor' enterprise zone

An enterprise zone designed to attract jobs and businesses to sites across Cheshire has been launched.

Four areas of the Cheshire Science Corridor will offer relief from business rates and other taxes, as well as access to 'super-fast' broadband.

The zone includes sites where hundreds of jobs have been lost in recent years.

Officials claim 20,000 jobs and 500 new businesses could be attracted to the county due to the incentives offered by the enterprise zone designation.

Sites in Ellesmere Port, Warrington and east Cheshire will benefit from the new status.

They include Alderley Park near Macclesfield, where 1,600 jobs were lost in 2013 when pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced it would move its research and development unit to Cambridge.

Dr Chris Doherty, site director at Alderley Park, said: "The Enterprise Zone will give businesses based at Alderley Park access to additional important financial incentives, alongside the services and support we already provide."

Another is Thornton Science Park near Ellesmere Port, former home of Shell's main UK research and development centre. It closed in 2012 with the loss of 280 jobs.

'Cheshire Science Corridor' enterprise zone sites

  • Alderley Park, Cheshire East
  • Birchwood Park, Warrington
  • Thornton Science Park, Cheshire West
  • Nine small sites across Ellesmere Port

The enterprise zone status was announced by the Chancellor and Cheshire MP George Osborne in his 2015 Autumn Statement.

Since it was established on 1 April, the zone has attracted its first tenant, Werfen Ltd, which manufactures diagnostic instruments for the health sector.

Philip Cox from the county's local enterprise partnership (LEP) said the zone "will bring ever more science-based businesses into the area."

"We have an aspiration to more than double the size of the economy over the next 25 years, which is an incredibly powerful contribution to the northern powerhouse," he said.

Other sites in the Cheshire Science Corridor will not be part of the enterprise zone - including Jodrell Bank and Capenhurst Technology Park near Ellesmere Port.

Chair of the enterprise zone's steering group, Robert Mee, said: "We identified a number of sites with high growth potential and a skilled workforce and it is these sites that make up the Enterprise Zone and will offer significant incentives to attract more science based businesses to help grow these key sectors".

Daresbury Science Park in Cheshire was unveiled by the government as an enterprise zone in 2011.

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