Most of the Zones are targeting specific industry sectors, encouraging clusters of similar businesses, and building on existing strengths for mutual benefit.
Skylon Park will have a strong focus on the Defence and Security sector. This will build on the deep rooted association Hereford has with the UK special forces as the base of the SAS, a globally recognised name from the Defence Sector.
The existence of other key sites, DERA/Qinetiq in Malvern and GCHQ in Cheltenham, demonstrates a local cluster of strategic sites from which Skylon Park can draw. There is an inevitable emergence of businesses in the security sector. Herefordshire is already the location for over 200 companies in the sector, many of which have been set up by ex-military personnel who have engaged in the Special Forces supply chain utilising their specialist skills to maximise business opportunities.
Advanced Engineering has been identified as being one of the key sectors to attract to Skylon Park. Herefordshire based companies are prominent in a wide range of areas, including advanced materials, manufacturing technologies and processes. Businesses operating within this high-growth sector would be perfectly placed at Skylon Park. Advanced Engineering has strong links to the Defence and Security sector. Bringing these businesses together on Skylon Park will bring many benefits to all. Niche businesses in this sector already located in the county include: Special Metals Wiggins, Denco, ETL Systems, HR Smith Group.
Herefordshire is surrounded by unspoilt countryside with a strong agricultural heart. It is known for its local delights, with an abundance of food and drink producers and processors or various sizes. In order to support these local food producers the Skylon Park Food and Drink Hub will include speclialised food production and processing technologies, food additives and botanics, adding value to an already established sector within Herefordshire.
There are a number of major food and drink firms located in Herefordshire which include Heineken-Bulmers, Cargill Meats, Tyrrells Crisps, Westons Cider and a strong network of support organisations to the food and drink sector.
Herefordshire has a number of businesses within the sustainable technology sector. Sustainable construction is a particular strength, ranging from services such as architects (Architype) through timber frame buildings (Taylor Lane, Border Oak) to products (Kingspan).
Many of our advanced engineering businesses are providing innovative, low carbon solutions to businesses in a host of other sectors. Clustering sustainable technology businesses on Skylon Park will maximise the potential to develop beneficial connections and trade in the wider local area.
The Enterprise Zone is actively encouraging renewable energy propositions to deliver heat and power to new businesses on Skylon Park.
All businesses coming into the Zone must be in one of these business sectors. Any business already located in Herefordshire must be in one of these sectors and, to avoid displacement, must also be able to demonstrate 30% employee growth over three years.
It is vital that we make the most of the opportunities that the Zone offers to enrich the business mix of Herefordshire and increase the number of high quality job opportunities for the local community. So there are some business sectors that we do not want to see investing in the Zone. This does not reflect the individual quality and merit of each of these businesses – but their needs will need to be met elsewhere in the county.
An expanding electrical specialist says moving to new purpose-built offices at Skylon Park has helped future-proof its business.
“Our profile has benefitted enormously from being based on such an innovative, modern park.”