The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership is inviting expressions of interest to create Cornwall’s first Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ).
The zone is designed to help food and farming businesses fast-track growth and new job creation by removing planning barriers and other regulatory obstacles.
The LEP, working with Cornwall Council, the Cornwall Agri-Food Council and Cornwall Development Company, submitted a bid to Government to develop a FEZ in Cornwall and in February was awarded £50k to take it forward as one of just 11 areas in England.
The LEP is now inviting local businesses and other interested parties to put forward suggested sites for the FEZ, and explain how it would deliver growth and jobs.
These are likely to be single sites in single ownership and could extend activity at an existing location. But it is important that they create new economic activity which leads to the creation of new jobs, rather than displacing or relocating activity from elsewhere.
Proposals can be wide-ranging across the agri-food sector and include agriculture, horticulture, forestry and other forms of primary production; food, non-food and drink processing, and agri-food supply chains including logistics, distribution and storage.
The LEP says that ideally, the proposals should not just benefit a single business but instead bring wider economic benefits to the agri-food sector in Cornwall.
LEP chief executive Sandra Rothwell said: “This is a great opportunity to create a dedicated zone that will fast-track growth and job creation in a sector that is already worth around £1.5 billion to our local economy.
“Measures to raise productivity and stimulate growth in our food and farming industries are central to our economic strategy and we hope there will be a lot of interest in hosting the new zone, which we expect to be fully up and running by early next year.”
The deadline for submissions of interest is the end of April and potential sites will then be scored. The site that presents the strongest economic case will be invited to work with the LEP and Cornwall Council on creating the zone, including a proposed Local Development Order that would streamline the planning process on site.
The LEP plans to put in place a package of support for businesses in the enterprise zone using EU funding from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme. This could include financial support via loans and grants, training and other business support.
For more information and to download an expression of interest form, click here: