The UK Government has awarded Silverstone Park ‘Enterprise Zone’ status which could save companies locating to the high-tech business estate more than £250,000 in rates relief across the next five years.
The status was approved following a successful bid to Government by Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) and Silverstone Park developer MEPC.
Its ‘signing off’ took place soon after MEPC completed construction of 125,000 sq ft of new HQ-style industrial units at Silverstone Park – significantly these are on land designated as ‘Enterprise Zone’ on the Buckinghamshire side of the circuit boundary.
Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, Chief Executive, Richard Harrington said: “Silverstone Park Enterprise Zone represents a strong pillar of our growth strategy. Building on our areas of global excellence will be at the heart of our response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
“From a standing start excellent progress has been achieved at Silverstone Park. We look forward to welcoming sector leading occupiers shortly and to continued investment in the Enterprise Zone.”
MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director for Silverstone Park, commented: “This will make a huge difference to companies who want to grow and perhaps need to be in the Silverstone area to attract the right staff and make an impression among clients. It negates any concern about ‘can we afford this?’ Instead it gives them confidence to take out a lease and invest and grow their business.”
She added: “With the birth of the Silverstone Technology Cluster, which is also on the Government’s radar, we need to be doing all we can to encourage high-tech companies operating in engineering and electronics and the like. Many have the potential for high growth but also need help with cash flow in their formative stages – this is a great opportunity for them and also for them to take advantage of the global brand name of Silverstone.
“We really appreciate the support of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP who submitted the initial application and as a result are bringing tangible benefit to businesses moving to the area and support for the Silverstone Technology Cluster.”
Enterprise Zone status also means the Government will later release the equivalent of business rates that would otherwise have been collected – plus another 50 per cent on top – for BTVLEP and MEPC to jointly re-invest in Silverstone Park. This could be in areas such as broadband services, utilities and roads as well other initiatives that help to feed development of the area for commercial businesses.
BTVLEP’s overarching commercial direction for the Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone, which Silverstone Park plays a key element, is to develop and grow the current high skills base; indigenous industrial/research strengths; natural growth in population and housing numbers; and the number of imminent infrastructure developments in the region to deliver significant growth, jobs creation and productivity improvements in the high performance technology/motorsport; space propulsion/environmental engineering; and agri-food/human health sectors.
Buckinghamshire is the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain where, for well over a decade, more businesses have started here than anywhere else in the UK. This is borne of the heartbeat of enterprise, which is manifest in a propensity to act; and a propensity to successfully exploit new ideas. It is no accident that we are the Birthplace of the Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville, the creative film engine for James Bond and Star Wars at Pinewood Studios, and the joint home of the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.