Enterprise Zone status has been secured by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership – paving the way for millions of pounds of private investment and thousands of new jobs. Chancellor George Osborne has announced a new Enterprise Zone for Basing View, in Basingstoke, Longcross Park, in Chertsey, and Whitehill & Bordon which will deliver new businesses, new jobs and new opportunities – stimulating significant economic growth in the area.

Working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, East Hampshire District Council and Runnymede Borough Council, the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) led the bid for a ‘multi-site Enterprise Zone’ and had to compete for the status against areas across the UK.

Businesses which move to the Enterprise Zone by 31 March 2022will not have to pay any business rates for five years – which could be worth approximately £275,000 to a business.

Business rates generated in the Enterprise Zone will also be retained in the area by the LEP and this will provide an investment fund over the next 25 years that will support future economic growth across the Enterprise Zone and the wider LEP area.

The LEP will work in partnership with the local authorities, developers and other stakeholders to invest the retained rates, estimated to be in the region of £178million (over 25 years), in ways which will increase prosperity and create further development opportunities.

The funding will be used to invest in physical infrastructure and place-making projects which ensure the Enterprise M3 area remains globally competitive with strong connectivity and world-class businesses and skills– which will help increase prosperity across the area.

The LEP’s bid links three key centres, which vary in size, with a focus of the Enterprise Zone to boost the digital economy – which will be attractive to both investors and businesses.

These three key centres sit within the ‘Sci-Tech Corridor’ – an economic asset of national importance and home to thousands of innovative, high-tech companies capable of leading the world in areas including digital media, 5G and cyber security.

Business growth will be achieved in a number of ways which will include accelerating development of ‘grade A’ office space, establishing business incentive schemes, positioning and marketing the Enterprise Zone as an important digital cluster and attracting foreign direct investment.

It is anticipated that the Enterprise Zone has the potential to deliver more than 200 new businesses, approximately 10,220 new jobs, around 210,000sqm of new commercial space and more than 28,000sqm of refurbished commercial space.

As a result of Enterprise Zone status, it is expected that the development of the three sites will give a total land value uplift over the next 25 years of approximately £825,000/ha and an estimated business rate retention of £178million.

Geoff French CBE, Chair of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, today said:

“This is absolutely fantastic news.

“The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership has pulled out all the stops to ensure that this bid was successful and we were up against some stiff competition.

“This is a huge economic boost to the area. There will be more jobs, more businesses setting up and it will make the area far more attractive to investors.

“This is a really great time for the area and the digital economy and I look forward to seeing numerous success stories which will follow this significant announcement.

“We have just published our digital report about how the area can seize the opportunities of the digital age and Enterprise Zone status is a great example of that.

“The LEP aims to be a catalyst for economic growth in the area and by securing this boost for businesses we have done just that. This is just one of the many things we’re working on at the moment to ensure the area remains the top location in the country for enterprise and economic growth as well as providing an excellent environment and quality of life.”

Cllr Ferris Cowper, Leader of East Hampshire District Council, said:

“This will be a big boost to businesses moving into Whitehill & Bordon and paves the way for huge investment and new jobs.

“Being part of the Enterprise Zone will help establish the town as a really attractive investment proposition and this is exactly what we’ve been working so hard to achieve.

“We will work closely with the local enterprise partnership to establish where best to invest the retained business rates so that this has the maximum possible benefit to the area.

“This is a really exciting milestone in Whitehill & Bordon’s transformation.”

Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Cllr Clive Sanders said:

“This is fantastic news for Basing View, Basingstoke and Enterprise M3 and evidence of great partnership working to boost the economic viability both locally and along the M3 corridor.

“The new Enterprise Zone will provide even more incentives for new businesses to come to Basing View and will make the council’s investment in the regeneration of the town centre business quarter go even further.

“Basing View is already proving a popular destination for new business following the recent opening of the Network Rail and South West Trains training campus and the John Lewis at Home and Waitrose combined store, but the Enterprise Zone and the benefits it will bring now send a strong message to companies – that Basingstoke and Deane is better for business.”

Paul Turrell, Chief Executive of Runnymede Borough Council, said:

“As one of the Enterprise M3 LEP’s largest strategic inward investment sites, Longcross Park offers a compelling location for business with its proximity to London, the M25/M3 and Heathrow.

“Runnymede already has over four times the national average concentration of cyber security employment. When this is coupled with the fact that Longcross Park is in close proximity to Royal Holloway University of London, a U.K Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research and home to one of the largest and most established security groups in the world, it makes it a very attractive location for this growth sector.

“I am looking forward to seeing the Enterprise Zone come together as it is further recognition that Runnymede is a great place for businesses to invest in.”

The LEP and local authority partnerswill now be negotiating final details of the Enterprise Zone with government. But it is anticipated that the Enterprise Zone will help enable the following on each site:

Basing View Business Park in Basingstoke: – 13 hectare site – 60 new businesses – 4,130 new jobs – 73,600sqm of new commercial space – 28,000 of refurbished commercial space

Longcross Park near Chertsey: – 22 hectare site – Enterprise Zone work will take place alongside the development of 200 homes – 49 new businesses – 5,600 new jobs – 118,000sqm of new commercial floorspace

Whitehill & Bordon in East Hampshire: – Eight hectare site – 105 new businesses – 495 new jobs – 20,000sqm of new commercial floorspace.

Enterprise Zone will deliver huge investment and thousands of jobs