Huge boost for jobs and infrastructure
The chancellor has announced that the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire will now have two Enterprise Zones, which will mean new jobs and a multi-million pound boost to spending on local infrastructure.
An Enterprise Zone is an area that encourages businesses to set up and expand, partly thanks to financial incentives and relaxed planning regulations.
The new zone is made up of areas near Didcot. It will sit alongside and complement Science Vale, which is the existing Enterprise Zone consisting of the Harwell Campus and Milton Park.
The councils will be able to keep the business rates from the second Enterprise Zone, rather than sending the money to the government – along with contributions from developers building new businesses, this means there will be more money available to spend on infrastructure across the whole of the Science Vale area around Didcot, and extending out to Grove and Wantage.
Having two Enterprise Zones means the area will also be able to attract even more government money to help support the extra houses coming to the two districts. Residents can already see this in action with the redevelopment of Milton Interchange and the Chilton junction, which was paid for by the government to help support Science Vale.
The location of the new Enterprise Zone means that high quality jobs are on the doorstep of new houses – better served by public transport and helping to prevent further congestion on the A34 and roads in the surrounding areas.
Cllr Matthew Barber, leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This is great news for the Vale – most of the sites in the new Enterprise Zone are in our district, which means all of our residents will benefit from more money for infrastructure including people in Harwell, Grove and Wantage.”
Cllr John Cotton, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We need to spend on infrastructure to support existing residents and those moving into the new houses we’re getting, and the Enterprise Zone will mean more ready access to the cash we need – that includes new roads and improvements to roads already struggling.”