Cheshire and Warrington’s Enterprise Zone, the Cheshire Science Corridor, was officially launched at Warrington’s Birchwood Science Park recently.
The Science Corridor, which covers more than 100 hectares in total, has the potential to create up to 20,000 jobs and bring 500 businesses to Cheshire and Warrington.
Led by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with the three local authorities of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire East Council and Warrington Borough Council, the Enterprise Zone will enable the LEP to deliver a range of incentives for businesses. This includes providing help with business rates for high growth companies in the life sciences sector at Alderley Park, the largest R&D facility of its kind in the UK. It will also promote the development of the nuclear cluster at Birchwood through infrastructure and other improvements.
Businesses based within the Enterprise Zone will be entitled to a number of benefits, including 100 per cent rate discounts up to £275,000 for five years, 100 per cent enhanced capital allowances, simplified planning regimes and superfast broadband.
Robert Mee, chair of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone, said: “Science and energy have been identified as key strategic sectors with significant growth potential across Cheshire’s main sites, which together make up the Cheshire Science Corridor. These sites are home to a wealth of assets and an existing highly skilled workforce that offer huge benefits to businesses looking to locate. The Enterprise Zone will enable us to offer significant incentives to attract more science based businesses and support the growth of these key sectors.”
Since the Enterprise Zone was established in April, there have been a number of applications including its first tenant, medical diagnostics company, Werfen Ltd, which manufactures diagnostic instruments for the health sector.
Werfen UK has been based in the Birchwood area for more 35 years and is directly involved in the science-based industrial supply chain. Xavier Soler, Werfen’s financial controller, said: “Werfen wanted to locate to a place where we can retain and recruit the best staff, and one that is well connected for our sales team, and Birchwood Park within the new Enterprise Zone was ideal for its range of tenants, facilities and build we could convert, as well as the added incentives offered through the EZ."
Martin O’Rourke, commercial director at Birchwood Park, commented: “Warrington and Birchwood’s businesses and local authorities have helped attract global companies such as National Nuclear Laboratories and AMEC Foster Wheeler, growing respected nuclear clusters as a result. The formation of the new Enterprise Zone can be expected to build the area’s international profile in much the same way, further bringing opportunities to benefit local development and the wider community."