Four key areas of Plymouth could form part of an investment zone, helping to supercharge the city’s growth and development ambitions and create high-value jobs.
Millions of pounds of investment could be on the cards together with the prospect of over 1,500 jobs and the development of housing and commercial sites in:
- City Centre
- Union Street
The Council has this week submitted its expression of interest to the Government. In addition the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport is also applying to become an investment zone.
Plymouth was one of the first authorities invited to work in partnership with the Government to create an investment zone to attract investment and unleash growth.
Interventions could include:
• Lower taxes – businesses in designated sites benefit from time-limited tax benefits such as tax relief on capital allowances, commercial and residential relief from paying stamp duty.
• Accelerated development – designated development sites will have projects accelerated as well as a push to release more land within the investment zone for housing and commercial development and to support accelerated development.
• Funding opportunities through schemes such as the Brownfield Infrastructure Fund.
Plymouth City Council Leader, Councillor Richard Bingley said: "There are some great schemes in these areas already primed and waiting to go, but these interventions will massively speed up development.
“It’s a win for our residents as it means high quality jobs, it’s a win for local businesses and it means that plans to build homes in some of these sites that have stalled for various reasons will be unblocked.
"We know the city centre needs rejuvenating and our goal is to make it somewhere that more people want to live in.
“Investment zone status will make Plymouth a more attractive proposition and will help us revive the city centre and areas of the waterfront as well as enable much-needed housing to be built.
“We have been working at speed to ensure we have the right sites and the right areas to be able to deliver tangible growth at pace. It’s exciting times as these measures could mean all the difference for projects which are ready, but which may not have all the necessary investment, or have been set back by uncertain market conditions.”
The main focus will be unlocking city centre sites and where there is a strategic partnership in place with a clear delivery plan. High on the priority list is helping the community to regenerate neighbourhoods, through groups such as Nudge Community Builders and the Millfields Trust with their track record of bring empty buildings back into use for new businesses, employment and training opportunities and new, affordable homes.
In total 17 sites have been identified within the areas and are a mixture of commercial and housing. The first five city centre sites are the West End (land at Colin Campbell Court), the railway station, the Civic Centre and Guildhall, the hotel overlooking the Hoe and land currently occupied by the former museum annex at Tavistock Place.
These sites alone have the potential to create over 800 jobs, a variety of new uses including office space, hotels, retail and over 500 homes. There is also a pipeline of further city centre sites.
The Government has set out the proposed tax offer within planned Investment Zones which are designed to encourage investment and new economic activity, supporting growth and jobs.
Investment Zones have a package of incentives over ten years. Businesses in designated areas within the zones will benefit from 100 per cent business rates relief on newly-occupied and expanded premises. Local councils hosting zones will receive 100 per cent of the business rates growth above an agreed baseline in designated sites for 25 years.
Businesses will receive full stamp duty land tax relief on land bought for commercial or residential development and a zero rate for Employer National Insurance contributions on new employee earnings up to £50,270 per year. There will also be capital allowance relief to encourage investment.
The Council has clear strategic aims and objectives for the city and the opportunity to establish an Investment Zone would accelerate the work being done to deliver new, high value jobs, deliver new homes and improve opportunities for residents.
Over the last few years the Council has proved it can deliver new projects on a large scale, working with partners from a wide range of backgrounds and across a range of sectors including Plymouth Community Homes, the University of Plymouth, Association of British Ports and Homes and Communities Agency. Other partners include Network Rail, GWR, Princess Yachts, Urban Splash, Propiteer, Muse, Victoria Wharves, Cattedown Harbour Commissioners, Yachthaven and Marina Projects Ltd.