Rotherwas to become 'engine for economic growth'

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The government's announcement that Hereford is to become one of its new enterprise zones could lead to the creation of up to 2,000 jobs within the next four years.

The Rotherwas Enterprise Zone in Hereford, proposed by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, will be built near the Holme Lacy Road where 55 defence and engineering businesses will be based.

Hereford Business Board Chairman Neil Kerr, who put the bid together, said: "It's fantastic news for the county - this will be the engine for economic growth for the whole of Herefordshire.

"We should be able to attract businesses worldwide for this part of the world because it's a great place to get the right balance between work and leisure."

ROTHERWAS ENTERPRISE ZONE

  • Around 1,800 jobs by 2015
  • Three sites covering 61.5 hectares
  • Focus on defence, engineering, green technologies and food processing
  • Tax breaks saving £4m in business rates
  • At least £90m of investment from the private sector by 2015
  • Wireless broadband by 2013

Mr Kerr said the aim of the business park was to attract highly skilled jobs into the county.

"Historically the job base here has been low value, low wages below the average national wage.

"Perhaps we're the example of rural regeneration that the government wanted, against quite a lot of existing enterprise zones that have gone to urban regeneration."

'Forgotten county'

The Hereford MP Jesse Norman welcomed the news and the announcement that Hereforshire is to getting super fast broadband.

"It shows that we've now started to put the county on the map.

"We've been the forgotten county for so long it's fantastic that we can start to charge forward."

He said the area's resources of expertise had provided a strong case.

"It tapped into what is the amazing reservoir of defence, security and light engineering. Those three things plus new green sustaining initiatives tipped the balance."

Hereford is one of 11 areas from 24 to have gained the bid but the Wyre Forest bid for Worcestershire was unsuccessful.

The proposal for the South Kidderminster Business Park, which predicted up to 4,000 jobs, was put together by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Wyre Forest 'setback'

Chairman Peter Pawsey said: "I'm delighted that Hereford have been successful. We need to get some feedback on our bid and we'll look at that with interest.

"We shouldn't forget that it's not long since we had £17.85m towards infrastructure on the Worcester Technology Park so we've had a good slice of the cake in our area."

MP for the Wyre Forest Mark Garnier said the plans would not be cast aside.

"It's a blow, it's a setback but there is still a will to push the south Kidderminster Business Park even if it isn't an enterprise zone in itself.

"We still need to keep pushing it forward and I hope we'll be able to put another bid in in the future."

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