Cambridge Compass gets the go ahead

A cluster of local development sites are celebrating after being awarded Enterprise Zone status thanks to the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, unveiled a series of new Enterprise Zones across the UK within the Spending Review and Autumn Statement today (Wednesday 25th November 2015).

The Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone creates a unique opportunity to expand the reach of Cambridge – global innovation centre – to the surrounding market towns, new communities and wider rural areas to boost the local and national economy. It includes sites in Waterbeach, Haverhill, Ely, Cambourne, and Northstowe.

Enterprise Zone status brings with it a number of benefits, including a business rate discount of up to 100% for five years for businesses moving into part of the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone. As a bonus for the local area, the LEP will retain 100% of the business rate growth within the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone for the next 25 years, which will enable further investment in economic growth across the area.

Mark Reeve, Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said:
“Securing Enterprise Zone status for the Cambridge Compass is a real boost for the local economy. We know that businesses, particularly international ones, want a base in Cambridge, which can drive up local rents and constrain supply. By drawing these sites together under the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone, we can provide a unique proposition to national and international companies looking for a new place to locate their businesses, drawing out the benefits of Cambridge to the surrounding area.
“The additional business rates income will also create a vital source of funding to support further economic development work across the local area for the next 25 years. Having a long term source of funding is critical to the continued development and economic success of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough area. We therefore welcome the opportunity to not only deliver vital new business space via these sites, but also generate income for our area.”

The site includes within the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone are as follows:

  • Cambridge Research Park, Waterbeach – Located close to Cambridge, this site offers 9 hectares of serviced employment land
  • Haverhill Research Park – Situated to the south east of Cambridge on the A1307, Haverhill Research Park offers 37,000 sq m of commercial space
  • Lancaster Way, Ely – Located north of Cambridge on the A10 growth corridor and main train line to Cambridge and London, Lancaster Way has outline consent to construct up to 125,000 sq m of additional office, R&D, industrial or warehouse and distribution accommodation to suit occupiers requirements
  • Cambourne Business Park – Located to the west of Cambridge, Cambourne Business Park provides a unique opportunity for a new business environment within a growing new settlement where homes and jobs are co-located
  • Northstowe, Phase 1 – Conveniently located close to Cambridge off the A14 and on the Guided Busway, this development is the first phase of employment land within Northstowe (which will be the largest new town to be built since Milton Keynes)

The Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone will come into effect from 1st April 2016, with the 100% business rates discount on offer to new occupiers until 31st March 2022.

The proposal was developed by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and submitted to Government earlier this year.

Heidi Allen MP, Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire, said:
“I am absolutely delighted we have secured this deal. It is essential we spread the economic miracle of Cambridge across the region, and this will be a key part of achieving that ambition. The Government have rightly recognised that even economically successful areas such as ours still need help to spread that success. I see it as a privilege to be able to share our prosperity for the benefit of other communities. Equally, it will help dilute the congestion locally and preserve what is so special about our area.”

Nic Rumsey, from Haverhill Research Park, commented:
“This is fantastic news for Haverhill Research Park, and for Haverhill generally. The benefits that being part of the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone brings will undoubtedly add to our competitive edge within the Greater Cambridge area and we look forward to pushing forward with this as soon as possible.”

Harvey Bibby, from Grovemere Property, said:
“Securing Enterprise Zone status for part of Lancaster Way Business Park is an important step forward for our development. Not only will it bring added benefits for businesses looking to move to our site, such as significant business rates discount, but also it allows us to be a part of the Cambridge Compass brand that will expand our reach to international businesses seeking a new base in the UK. We look forward to working with the LEP on this exciting new development for Lancaster Way.”

Andy Lawson, Projects Director at Gallagher Estates said:
“The Enterprise Zone designation including Northstowe is very welcome and we look forward to working with the LEP and other partners to ensure this opportunity for the town and the wider area is a great success.”

Paul Kitson, Head of Northstowe at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), joint promoters of Northstowe alongside Gallagher said:
“We are really pleased that Northstowe was included in the bid and has been successful alongside a wider effort to drive local economic growth. The Enterprise Zone status fits well with existing plans to ensure that new employment opportunities are made available alongside new homes and community facilities making Northstowe a great place to live and work.”

Phillip Ridoutt, Director at Savills Cambridge, commented:
“Cambridge Research Park is located in an area renowned for the strength of its business occupiers and the creation of the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone will further boost the Park’s appeal as an international innovation hub. The latest phase of development will create premium Grade A office space, mid tech facilities and smaller production buildings. This coupled with the many benefits that come as a result of the Enterprise Zone makes it an even more attractive prospect for companies looking to move there.”

Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said:
“It is fantastic news that some of our newest communities will be boosted by Enterprise Zone status. We are committed to creating an environment where businesses can set and thrive to make sure more new jobs continue to be created for local people. This news will help spread our success to even more of the district and deliver some additional much-needed funding to continue our success story.”

James Palmer, Leader at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said:
“In East Cambridgeshire, we have worked incredibly hard to support our local businesses to grow and attract new companies to set up here. Today’s news is therefore a welcome boost to the continued economic development of the area as we strive to support the conditions which create new jobs and the sustainable growth our district needs.”

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said:
“Promoting economic growth is at the heart of everything we do at St Edmundsbury and I am delighted that our Enterprise Zone bid for Haverhill has been approved. St Edmundsbury has been involved from the outset in helping push forward the Haverhill Research Park and our ambition to help create up to 2,000 new skilled jobs for people living in Haverhill. We have already worked with the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP to secure funding for this site and have collaborated with them once again to make this now successful bid. At the same time we have been lobbying Government for greater control on business rates locally, and the creation of this new Enterprise Zone should enable us to offer further incentives to help achieve our vision for Haverhill. The last piece in the jigsaw is the actual details in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s spending review but we look forward to the delivery of this exciting project for Haverhill, West Suffolk and beyond.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of Economy and Environment Committee, said:
“This is welcome news and reflects Cambridgeshire being an economic powerhouse for the rest of the country. This new Zone will help continue and spread the success of the area and create new jobs for our communities.”

Cambridge City Council leader Councillor Lewis Herbert added:
“The City Council warmly welcomes the Government decision to support the new ‘Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone’ and congratulates South Cambridgeshire District Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and other partners for securing this boost for sustainable jobs expansion locally. The opportunity to attract extra business investment is a great fillip for the new settlements as a large proportion of the new jobs will be filled by residents of the new housing to be built in these growing communities, as well as provide employment for people from local villages and Cambridge.”

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