East Devon - Met Office Super Computer Complex. Photo credit- ESP

Businesses looking to expand or relocate to Exeter and East Devon can now add a new Enterprise Zone to their shortlist. The zone has a choice of sites, great connections, facilities and a variety business friendly initiatives

Operational since April 2017, the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone consists of four sites – Skypark, Exeter Science Park, Cranbrook commercial area and Exeter Airport Business Park Expansion.

The Enterprise Zone will be in place for 25 years and supports businesses through, business rate relief - funded by Government which could be worth up to £275,000, a simplified planning process and other measures to encourage enterprise.

Unlike other areas the Zone already benefits from a package of infrastructure investment, which includes a £12m upgrade to Junction 29 of the M5, a new £9m bypass linking the Airport to Skypark, new train station in the new town of Cranbrook and upgraded bus, cycling and walking links.

Located on the doorstep of Exeter International Airport, the Zone is within easy reach of major UK and European cities. 

A range of businesses have already chosen to relocate and grow in the Zone including DPD, Devon and Cornwall Housing (DCH) and the Ambulance Special Operations Centre. 

The rapidly expanding Science Park Centre hosts a wide variety of tech and innovation companies, as well as being home to the Met Office’s new super computer and approved plans for state-of-the-art new laboratory facilities.

Additional business rates generated from within the Zone will be reinvested locally to further support economic growth.  This will help to improve the future success of the zone and the wider area. It will be achieved through local authorities and key stakeholders working alongside partners such as the Heart of the South West LEP.

The zone is backed by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), Devon County Council and East Devon District Council.

East Devon’s appeal is in the balance between countryside, coast and business connectivity and facilities. The mixed urban, rural and coastal offer together with the attractive natural environment underpin East Devon’s popularity with 18% of Devon’s total population living in East Devon.

Cllr Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council said:

Our business community has been growing consistently in recent years, especially among small and micro businesses. East Devon ranks in the top third of districts for the number of micro businesses. There are over 8,500 registered companies in the district. Business survival rates are very good. Food and drink, craft and tech, visitor attractions, cultural and leisure sectors all mark East Devon as a special place to live, work and visit.

Cllr Diviani added:

East Devon has a strong entrepreneurial culture, with more than twice the number of self-employed people than the South West average. Our population is highly educated with over half educated to degree or higher degree level. This ranks the district in the top fifth of districts nationally.

As the Enterprise Zone and Growth Point partnership demonstrates, East Devon enjoys an important inter-relationship with the city of Exeter. Exeter provides a significant level of employment to the west end of the district in particular, and in turn East Devon helps to meet Exeter’s need for workforce in quantity and skills.

East Devon also offers an attractive environment for that workforce as a place to live or visit.  It can boast 2 AONB’s as well as the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site and its 4 coastal towns offer a range of exciting recreational activities, on and off the water.  In Exmouth, the council is moving forward with the three-phase development of Queen’s Drive and is looking forward to signing an agreement with the watersports centre developer Grenadier who will reveal their building designs soon. In addition, the council has invested over £1.3 million in restoring the public slipway at Mamhead which is now open to the public with a formal opening in the coming weeks.

The council is leading on two major projects designed to increase the amount of workspace in Seaton. Work has already begun on demolishing existing buildings at the former Colyford Road depot and clearing the site to make way for the development of 14 workshop units in the autumn. Work will also be starting at Fosseway Park to prepare the site for construction of seven new workshop units to start later this year. The new units will help encourage business growth and create jobs in the town and will support small and start-up businesses in the area.

Cllr Diviani welcomed the start of the works:

The council has previously invested in projects such as these - for example at Riverside Way in Seaton – and they have proved to be very successful, particularly with small enterprises. One of our roles as a council is to ensure that such units are available to create jobs and we hope the Colyford Road development will be completed by October 2018 and Fosseway Park by spring 2019.