Kent and Medway’s ability to compete with the best UK locations for innovation and technology businesses, has been given a boost by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The prospect of 9,900 new jobs in the county is now much closer after the North Kent Innovation Zone was granted Enterprise Zone status by the Government.
The announcement in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, sees North Kent Innovation Zone (NKIZ) become one of 26 new and extended Enterprise Zones across the country.
The awarding of Enterprise Zone status follows a bid endorsed and submitted to Government on behalf of the partners, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Maidstone Borough Council, Medway Council and other stakeholders, by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) and Thames Gateway Kent Partnership.
Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent, said: “The Government has recognised that they can extend the UK’s science base and create a golden triangle by linking Kent with Oxford and Cambridge, with excellent connections into London.”
Commenting on the success, George Kieffer, Interim Chairman for SE LEP, said: “North Kent Innovation Zone, when combined with the existing enterprise zone at Discovery Park, which has already proved to be hugely successful, means that we now have an excellent opportunity to promote the area to high-growth businesses. The team behind the bid deserves our congratulations.”
Extending the sector focus on innovation in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and engineering in the Kent Innovation Corridor, the NKIZ covers three sites – the Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone, Rochester Airport Technology Park in Medway, and earmarked sites in Ebbsfleet Garden City, spanning Dartford and Gravesham.
The NKIZ will deliver around 230,000m2 of high quality business premises across 64 hectares by 2027, boosting the local economy and employment and training opportunities in Kent and Medway.
Enterprise Zones offer a number of incentives to business occupiers, including business rates discounts worth up to £55,000 per year for five years, to help accelerate investment and growth.
Ebbsfleet Garden City
Northfleet Embankment, with its 22.37 hectares of land has been earmarked for 54,000m2 of commercial development for construction technologies and advanced manufacturing, including modular housing, alongside innovatory space and workshops.
Nearby Ebbsfleet Valley North East offers 4.08 hectares for 30,000m2 of development focusing on accommodation for professional services, creative industries. Both sites are integral to the deliver of the garden city.
Kent Medical Campus
The announcement will be a huge boost for Kent Medical Campus, the 30 acre site located at Junction 7 of the M20. Once complete, Kent Medical Campus will create more than 2,000 new jobs and provide 98,000m2 of flexible accommodation for medical and life-science companies, specialist residential and rehabilitation care, as well as higher education training facilities for the medical and healthcare professions.
It will be the County’s first Academic, Health and Science Centre (AHSC), the first phase of which is the recently-opened Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS), the 92 bed independent hospital.
Kent Medical Campus has already attracted interest from biotech and medtech start-up businesses, as well as major healthcare investors, and the next phase of development is being finalised.
Rochester Airport Technology Park
The plans are focused on the development of an advanced manufacturing and engineering park, targeting R&D and prototyping companies involved in serving the automotive, aerospace, medtech, and robotics industries
It presents the opportunity to reconfigure and rebuild the operational airport and create an innovation campus employing up to 1,000 people on the 21 hectare site, close to Junction 3 of the M2.
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