Covering 173 acres in the heart of the city, the area is set to become home to some very exciting companies particularly those working in the creative and new technology industries.
It's still early days but companies and entrepreneurs looking for the right place to develop their business should start considering setting up in the Enterprise Zone for a number of very good reasons.
1. Business Rates
One of the most attractive benefits for companies considering setting up in the Enterprise Zone is the potential for reduction in business rates. The Localism Bill (which is currently going through Parliament) will allow local authorities to introduce discounts of up to 100% for every business in a Zone.
The maximum discount is limited to around £55,000 per year by the EU state aid rules. It will be down to the local authority to ensure that businesses do not receive greater levels of support. Businesses in the Zone will receive the discount for five years from the start of their occupancy, as long as the occupancy commences before April 2015. Under these rules a business could benefit from a discount of up to £275,000 over five years.
Specialist businesses need the right environment to succeed. So as a condition of creating an Enterprise Zone local authorities must put in place a "genuinely simplified approach" to planning to help businesses build the premises they need. In Bristol the council is likely to use Local Development Orders (LDOs) to achieve this.
LDOs allow development without the need for specific planning permission from the local planning authority. For example, the LDO may specify that a certain type of development is permitted in a designated area or may permit any development in a designated area. Planning permission granted under an LDO may be outright or subject to conditions.
The process of setting up an LDO can be swift – from start to finish the process could take as little as two months. This means that businesses can avoid the delays and costs associated with the traditional planning process.
Access to high speed broadband is non-negotiable for most companies, especially those involved in the creative and new technology industries. The Government has said that all businesses in Zones that need superfast broadband will have access to it. It will provide public funding, where necessary, to achieve this.
4. And more...
The Government will work with the Local Enterprise Partnerships to identify and enable other benefits that will benefit companies locally. These could include:
Osborne Clarke and the Enterprise Zone
Our Bristol office is on the eastern edge of the Enterprise Zone, making us ideally located to advise companies considering setting up in the Enterprise Zone on legal and tax issues. Given the Zone's focus on the creative and new technology industries it's not only on our street, but is right up our street. We have a wealth of experience advising companies working in these areas - you can find details of our experience in the digital business sector here. We also have experience in advising on the procurement and installation of broadband, WiFi and other technology, as well as planning and regeneration issues, real estate investment and much more.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help companies considering setting up or investing in the Bristol Enterprise Zone please contact David Powell or Ian Wilkinson.