NORTHAMPTON has been put firmly on the business map around the world today after it triumphed in a bid to host a new enterprise zone, paving the way for up to 17,000 new jobs and £1 billion of investment.
The plan for Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone encompasses a vast area, stretching from Sixfields to Brackmills and roughly following the River Nene, where businesses will be given special terms in order to boost growth.
The Government announced to a delighted Northampton that the town was one of only 11 new zones it has created, giving it real muscle in the fight to attract the best firms from around the world.
Northampton Borough Council said yesterday the announcement meant the town would become “the new home of innovation and high performance engineering” and predicted that it could create thousands of jobs and hundreds of new businesses over the next three years.
Work will now begin on transforming the town’s riverside into a national centre of excellence for advanced technologies and performance engineering.
Councillor David Palethorpe, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “This puts Northampton on the map as the place to do business in the motorsport industry.
“Building on the reputation of ‘Motorsport Valley’ we will be looking to attract major investors from around the world.
“Working with our successful existing business and the ambitions of our university we have the chance to see Northampton become a world-renowned centre for engineering and innovation.”
In just three years the Enterprise Zone plans to bring in almost 400 new businesses and 7,700 new jobs. And, by 2021 the area should have created more than 17,000 new jobs across the region.
The announcement means that more than 120 hectares of the town’s waterside is now available for conversion into high value commercial and industrial floorspace.
A simplified planning process will be introduced to help business quickly build the facilities they need, and at the same time there will be further investment in the infrastructure of the area to introduce superfast broadband. New businesses moving into the area will also be able to claim business rate discounts of up to £275,000.
David Kennedy, Northampton Borough Council’s chief executive, said: “This is a great success and opportunity for Northampton.
“Now the hard work will begin to take the town to the market and create the new jobs and growing businesses we need. Thanks are due to all the many people and businesses who supported the council in making this bid.”