WHY THE A11 TECH CORRIDOR MUST FEATURE IN THE CHANCELLOR’S HALLOWEEN ANNOUNCEMENT
Published 10 November 2022
Amongst all of the political turmoil which followed the ‘mini-Budget’, the focus on supply side reform is one thing most in business will agree on. In regions where employment levels are high and skills levels elevated, it is the job of government to ensure that growth is enabled by removing constraints on supply. Without this, Norfolk’s economy will not be in a position to satisfy demand, whether from within the county’s borders or from further afield.
The concept of Investment Zones is important, with a simplified planning process, business rates holidays, enhanced capital allowances and structures and buildings allowances, stamp duty relief for commercial development and even employers’ national insurance relief.
Whereas the Enterprise Zones of a decade ago were aimed at regenerating areas which were in decline, the idea of the Investment Zones is to pump-prime parts of the country which have the most potential for growth.
One of these is the A11 Tech Corridor, and it is vital that this important part of Norfolk is included in the Investment Zone programme. This is a location where there is plenty of available development land, but a shortage of actual buildings and sites that are development-ready. The planning benefits of being in an Investment Zone will be particularly important in overcoming these obstacles to further growth.
With its proximity to Cambridge and its access to the UK’s motorway network, the A11 corridor is critical to the economic success of our county. There is already demand, but as with many parts of Norfolk with potential, translating that demand into getting commercial development up and running requires the kind of boost which only government can provide.
You only need to look at sites in the A11 Tech Corridor to see the potential: the science-driven Norwich Research Park; the agri-food focussed Food Enterprise Park at Honingham; the Norwich Energy Innovation Park; the Hethel Technology Park, which is maximising the potential of our county’s expertise in advanced engineering.
Heading further down the A11, there is the Browick Interchange just south of the established Gateway 11 Business Park in Wymondham, which offers large-scale development opportunities; the Snetterton Distribution Hub, where 70 Hectares of employment space is awaiting development; and the Thetford Enterprise Park, where 18 Hectares of development land is available, particularly for the advanced engineering, automotive and agri-food sectors.
Successfully increasing the supply of high quality commercial space in key locations such as the A11 tech corridor is vital if Norfolk is not to be left behind in the new ‘dash for growth’. The Chancellor must include it as part of his Investment Zone plan, and we look forward to him announcing just that when he presents his economic plan on 31st October.
Nick O’Leary is head of commercial agency at Arnolds Keys. www.arnoldskeys.com
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