Home National housing Regions urged to ‘aim for growth’ as ​​investment zone applications open

Regions urged to ‘aim for growth’ as ​​investment zone applications open

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  • Pursuing its upgrading mission, the government is encouraging councils to take full advantage of the offer to reduce taxes and streamline planning rules
  • The Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities invites expressions of interest for investment areas from all parts of England
  • Investment Zones will spur growth, opportunity and jobs across the country

Local areas wishing to boost economic growth can apply to host a new investment zone starting today (October 2, 2022).

The government is encouraging councils to take full advantage of its offer of tax cuts and simplified site-specific planning rules to boost investment and speed up development, both commercial and residential. This will create jobs, provide new housing and increase opportunities.

Investment zones could benefit from a series of incentives over the next 10 years, such as relief on business taxes, stamp duty on property tax and employers’ national insurance contributions. These deals will drive serious economic growth that will transform towns and cities across the country.

The government has worked with local areas to identify bureaucratic requirements, processes and red tape that unnecessarily slow development or make it more complex than it needs to be – investment areas to benefit from planning rules simplified. This includes overhauling ineffective EU requirements, lengthy consultations with statutory bodies and onerous national and local policy rules.

Discussions are already underway with 38 councils, from Cornwall to Cumbria, and the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities is now inviting expressions of interest from all local areas in England by Thursday October 13.

The investment zones are expected to have a major impact on growth wherever they are located across the country. For instance:

  • In the North East, Investment Zones could accelerate the City Center Riverside Sunderland project, creating over one million square feet of business district, 10,000 jobs and 1,000 highly sustainable new homes and attracting investment in leisure and retail. It will be a serious economic driver for the future city and will be a growth model for other mid-sized cities across the UK.
  • In Cornwall, investment zones could accelerate Langarth Garden Village, a 245-hectare site near Truro offering around 2,700 homes, with new schools, workspaces and cultural facilities.
  • In Kent, Investment Zones could accelerate development in Ebbsfleet Garden City, unlocking up to 15,000 homes and creating 30,000 jobs by 2035, mostly on brownfield sites.

Leveling Secretary Simon Clarke said:

“The Investment Zones will be truly transformative for regions and local communities across the country, freeing them from the burden of bureaucracy and helping them reach their full potential.

“By lowering taxes and streamlining regulations, we will energize enterprise and investments that provide opportunities across the country. This is leveling in action.

“We are activating our economic engine and I encourage the territories to take advantage of our fantastic offer of Investment Zones and to develop.

Through investment zones, the government will enable local places to provide planning appropriate to their region, while maintaining high environmental standards and keeping national green belt protections in place.

To ensure that growth remains at the forefront, local authorities are asked to define the potential economic opportunities of an investment area in their region, how they fit into the wider economic strategy of the region and how they will support long-term UK economic growth.

Investment zones are the next step on the road to levelling, alongside broader measures, for example, through better control of local growth funding for the zones.

The UK government wants the offer of Investment Zones to be extended to the whole of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is working with the devolved administrations on how best to achieve this.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Thursday, October 13, 2022 at noon and the selected areas will be announced in a few weeks.

More information

A guidance document on investment zones was released on September 24.

The expression of interest evaluation criteria and the expression of interest request form are published here.