In August 2011 the Prime Minister announced that the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership had been awarded Enterprise Zone status for the Rotherwas Estate in Hereford. The Enterprise Zone, has a focus on the defence and security sector, has been named Skylon Park.
The 71 ha site, which includes three distinct but linked development areas at the South Magazine, North Magazine and Chapel Road, already benefits from the new Rotherwas access road, completed in June 2008, giving the estate quick and easy access to the A49, M50 and the rest of the motorway network. New internal access roads to the North and South Magazines have recently been completed and site clearance is ongoing in preparation for future development to begin as early as mid 2012. The new Enterprise Zone is also strategically placed within an hour and half drive of the international airports at Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff.
An Enterprise Zone Board has already been created and is chaired by Herefordshire businessman Bill Jackson, a former director and chairman of the Leominster Area Regeneration Company.
The Board is tasked over the next few months with developing governance procedures and the production of a masterplan. There is an aspiration to develop part of the site into a centre of excellence for defence and security sector with additional employment hubs focused on advanced technologies, environmental technologies and food and drink technologies.
Enterprise Zone status offers a range of benefits to businesses located on the site, including relief on business rates up to a maximum of £275,000 over a five year period, relaxation and fast tracking of the planning process and provision of improved infrastructure such as superfast broadband. It is predicted that the scheme will become a catalyst for enhanced economic growth throughout the Marches through the creation of highly skilled jobs and encouragement of overseas investment into the area.
For more information, please visit the Zone's website at www.skylonpark.co.uk