East Devon District Council has agreed in principle, borrowing of up to £20 million to invest in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone. The investment will help to boost economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, support new employment and provide opportunities for clean and inclusive growth.
On 30 September, East Devon District Council’s Cabinet agreed to borrow up to an additional £12 million, adding to the £8million already agreed. In addition, a £1 million fund will continue an established Business Rate Relief Programme. This will include extending rate relief to Exeter Airport, worth £180,000 over three years, to help sustain it through this difficult time, particularly following the impact of Flybe going into administration. All borrowing will be against future ring-fenced business rate income from the Enterprise Zone sites.
The income from future business rates can be relied upon because of the positive signs of growth in the Enterprise Zone including:
· The Science Park has been awarded £5m from the government’s ‘Getting Building’ fund to support the delivery of a ‘Grow-out Building’.
· Burrington Estates has submitted a planning application for 35 commercial units on Skypark.
· Enquiries from commercial occupiers wishing to locate on both Skypark and Science Park.
· Enhancements to Long Lane will unlock development on the AirPark site.
Possible projects which could benefit from the investment include:
Cranbrook Town Centre – commercial floor space in the town centre to meet the current and future needs of residents.
Exeter Airport – although this site is outside the Enterprise Zone, it is being supported with business rate relief and improved access via Long Lane, with future plans for a sustainable aviation cluster. The Long Lane improvements are valued at £3.7 million. The airport fulfils a crucial role for the area providing local skilled jobs, regional connectivity and a potential development hub for sustainable aviation, through electric or hybrid flights bringing environmental benefits by reducing carbon emissions.