Sites in South Gloucestershire have been put forward on behalf of local authorities in the West of England to explore the opportunities that may come from the Government’s Investment Zones plans.
Locally sites in Severnside, Emersons Green and Filton are being suggested for consideration as the concept and details of the Government’s plans are explored.
The council has worked closely with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to take part in the process, as well as with Bristol City and Bath and North East Somerset Councils. The next phase of the work will help the authorities understand the national priorities and how Investment Zone status in some areas could potentially support the region.
Investment Zone status potentially builds on established Enterprise Zones and Enterprise Areas, which are locations set up to encourage investment. For South Gloucestershire the areas which have been submitted for consideration are:
• Severnside (where a strategic masterplan is being promoted),
• Bristol and Bath Science Park in Emersons Green; and
• The Filton Enterprise Area.
These sites have been included because they are considered to most closely align with the guidance issued so far by the Government relating to Investment Zones. The Council will continue to work with a range of partners to develop longer term place shaping ambitions, to shape and harness sustainable growth for South Gloucestershire and our wider region.
The council is keen to put proposals forward into the next phase of the Government’s process so they can be promoted on a national level as areas with the potential to grow further with additional investment and funding opportunities.
Councillor Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “We will always be supportive of opportunities that we can take to provide investment for the benefit of residents and businesses of South Gloucestershire.
“We believe that we have a strong case for investment as a vibrant district with a growing population, world class businesses, a strong track record for innovation and transport links that connect us with the rest of the world.
“By being part of this process, we will be in prime position to explore the opportunities and potential benefits for our area so that we can assess the possibilities and make the right choices for local people and businesses and to take advantage of investment and potential new funding.
“There are questions to be asked about how Investment Zones might affect local planning rules and Business Rates, for example, and by taking part in this process we will be able to ask them and help to shape the approach. Our current position is that we are keen to explore the possibilities the policy might bring, but also important to note that, at this stage, the expressions of interest, are just that and can be withdrawn. We want to continue to demonstrate to Government and potential investors our ambition for our area.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with partners including our neighbouring councils and the Combined Authority to promote South Gloucestershire and the wider region on the national and international stage to deliver and realise our shared ambitions.”