Offering business rate relief, loans, and a simplified planning regime, Enterprise Zones are specifically designed to encourage business.
There are 48 across England, and Kent’s Enterprise Zone at Discovery Park, near Sandwich, is considered to be the most successful. Selected by the government in August 2012, the 220 acre site counts life science giants Pfizer and Mylan among its 100 tenants.
Companies relocating to Discovery Park are eligible for financial assistance, including up to 100% business rate relief to a maximum value of £275,000 over five years. There is also the potential to claim Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in plant and machinery. Other benefits, such as lease payment holidays, low-rent incubator units and development funding are also available at the site.
For large projects requiring a design and build programme, a Local Development Order is in place which leads to a streamlined, quicker planning process.
In addition to the financial incentives on offer, new arrivals can connect with a burgeoning community of nearly 150 companies employing an estimated 2,400 people.
As well as world-class science being undertaken on site, Discovery Park has welcomed the county’s leading legal and accountancy advisers, as well as recruitment consultants, design and marketing agencies, IT and telecoms experts.
Science-based training is delivered on site by East Kent College, which also has further education campuses at Broadstairs, Dover and Folkestone. Canterbury Christ Church University has also established a base at Discovery Park from where it will offer graduate training.
High Speed One train services to London are available from nearby Sandwich with plans for journey times to be reduced with the development of a Thanet Parkway railway station.
Kent's North Kent Enterprise Zone launched on April 3 2017, North Kent is where growing businesses thrive, communities grow and people enjoy the quality of life they want. It’s an area benefiting from sustained economic development and growth, with a plethora of opportunities for potential investors.
Between London and Europe, with excellent connections to both, the North Kent Enterprise Zone is one of the south-east region’s new business hubs for innovation and entrepreneurial growth, which will provide state-of-the-art commercial space and a positive business environment for high-value, specialist and forward thinking companies.
The Enterprise Zone’s six exceptional business sites, around Ebbsfleet, Medway and Maidstone, will offer specialisms in key sectors such as medical and healthcare research, training and practice, advanced manufacturing, engineering and digital technologies.
Like Discovery Park, The North Kent Enterprise Zone offers incentives to business occupiers including business rate discounts worth up to £55,000 annually for five years (a maximum of £275,000 per business).
Connectivity is at the heart of the Enterprise Zone’s proposition. Every site has easy and fast access to London, as well as excellent connections to the rest of the UK, and mainland Europe. With close proximity to high speed rail links and strategic transport networks, the area offers unparalleled access to regional, national and global markets.
The region provides employers with a highly skilled local workforce, and the cluster of outward-looking Universities and robust FE institutions offers top-class research, development and training facilities and a rich pool of expertise and future talent.
Kent and Medway offer some of the best places in the UK to live and work, with a growing and diverse housing market, excellent schools, leisure facilities and extensive shopping and dining opportunities, from independent local shops and restaurants in its historic town centres such as Rochester, Maidstone and Gravesend to major retail outlets at Bluewater in Greenhithe.
The Discovery Park Enterprise Zone and The North Kent Enterprise Zone are two of many funding support opportunities on offer to companies moving to, or already based in, Kent. For more information click here
Companies interested in finding out more about Kent’s Enterprise Zones should contact Locate in Kent’s team.