Hereford Enterprise Zone is ‘up and running’ with 175-acres of shovel-ready land ripe for investment, the Marches LEP’s Government-appointed senior sponsor was told during a visit to the region.
Enterprise Zone chairman Bill Jackson was among several LEP board members involved in talks with Terrie Alafat CBE, one of 20 LEP sponsors appointed to work with partnerships to ensure Government policies take into account their impact on a particular place.
Ms Alafat, Director of Housing Growth and Affordable Housing based at the Department of Communities and Local Government, visited the Marches earlier this month for a brief tour which included a briefing on the LEP’s priorities for economic growth across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
Chairman of the Zone, Mr Jackson, briefed Ms Alafat on progress at the Zone, including its current work with inward investment specialists to attract defence and security sector companies from overseas.
Mr Jackson said: “I was able to brief Terrie on a variety of issues relating to the Zone, touching on a number of subjects from potential investments in the pipeline to the need for increased housing stocks for the workforce which will be based on the Zone as companies develop operations at Skylon Park.”
LEP chairman, Graham Wynn OBE, said: “It is important that Whitehall is not only aware of the work we are doing in the Marches, but also the progress we are making in our aim to create economic growth and sustainable private sector jobs. We were delighted to welcome Terrie to the Marches, to introduce her to our young entrepreneurs, show her the major developments taking place and explain how we are tackling issues such as skills, transport and housing.”
Members of the LEP Board and its local authority partners briefed Ms Alafat on a number of key priorities, as well as raising issues which were potential barriers to growth, such as access to finance for businesses, the need for a direct rail link to London, electricity supply problems in North Shropshire, and water quality concerns in south Shropshire and Herefordshire.