Conservative Councillors in Midsomer Norton and Radstock have welcomed an announcement that the Somer Valley is to be designated as an official Enterprise Zone by the Government.
In a major boost the local economy, the Government has confirmed that the Somer Valley will become part of the new West of England Enterprise Zone, alongside land around Bristol Temple Meads and the Bath Riverside area.
By promoting the development of new employment sites, such as the land at Old Mills, and providing additional incentives for new businesses to establish themselves in the area, it is hoped that the new Somer Valley Enterprise Zone will entice new companies into the area and create more jobs for local residents in the years ahead.
Some of the incentives for businesses that can come with an Enterprise Zone include Business Rate discounts of up to 100% over a five-year period, simplified planning processes and support to ensure that superfast broadband is rolled-out throughout the zone.
Further discussions will now take place between the Council, Government and Local Enterprise Partnership to finalise the details of the deal, including the exact development sites to be included within the Enterprise Zone.
Welcoming the news, Councillor Barry Macrae (Cons, Midsomer Norton North) said:
“The designation of the Somer Valley as an official Enterprise Zone is great news for our town, and a real vote of confidence in both Midsomer Norton and the wider Somer Valley.
“On behalf of my fellow councillors and myself, I’d like to thank the B&NES officers and our Council Leader, Tim Warren, for working so hard in putting together this bid to Government and for fighting our area’s corner to get this deal secured. To see the Somer Valley placed alongside Bristol and Bath as an Enterprise Zone demonstrates that, when our case is made, we can secure our area’s fair share of investment from the West of England.
“By linking in with our wider economic strategy for the Somer Valley, we can also use this opportunity grow skills and create more opportunities for our area’s young people.”
Radstock’s Conservative Councillor, Deirdre Horstmann, added:
“At the moment there are many people who live in Radstock and the Somer Valley who commute long distances to work each day, but would prefer to work in the local area if the right jobs were available. It’s therefore vital that in the years ahead we do what we can to help create the new homes and jobs that will allow people to both live and work in the Somer Valley.
“Alongside the investment already going into Radstock, the creation of this new Enterprise Zone will be a big step forward in encouraging new businesses to establish themselves and grow in the Somer Valley, creating the jobs needed to ensure a thriving future for our communities.”