Rotherwas Business Park chosen as Enterprise Zone bid

Rotherwas Business Park
Image caption The park is about 60 hectares, the LEP said

A bid to create an Enterprise Zone in Hereford is to be submitted to the government.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been considering bids from Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire and Herefordshire.

But the group, which aims to encourage investment in the counties, said it has chosen the Rotherwas Business Park to develop private sector employment.

LEP chairman Geoffrey Davies said that it was a very competitive process.

"If Hereford is chosen to become an Enterprise Zone, and we'll have to wait and see because this is a very, very, competitive process, then that Enterprise Zone will benefit the whole of the Marches LEP area, not just Hereford."

'6,500 jobs'

The LEP is made up of councils, businesses and agencies.

The zones mean taxes can be cut and a relaxation of some planning rules in small areas to attract new businesses and create new jobs.

In Hereford, the LEP said there would be a business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per eligible business over a five-year period.

The bids covered Telford Technology Park and existing business parks in Shrewsbury, the LEP said.

If the Hereford bid is successful, up to 6,500 jobs could be created, they added. The jobs estimate is based on site capacity.

Earlier this year, the government confirmed that the first Enterprise Zones would be based within 11 LEPs led by Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Solihull, Sheffield, Leeds, London, the Bristol area, the Black Country, Derby and Nottingham, Teesside and the North East.

The Hereford bid will now be submitted to the government and it is thought a decision will be made in the summer about where the next zones will be, a spokesman said.

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