LEPs help forge UK's first manufacturing zones
Two Leicestershire projects, involved in the space industry and food sector, will form part of the new and innovative East Midlands Manufacturing Zones.
The proposal for creating an East Midlands Manufacturing Zone pilot was first set out in the 2017 Autumn Budget.
Following a funding call from the Midlands Engine to put forward proposals for Manufacturing Zones, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) responded and successfully secured £125,000 to bring forward two sites and develop their plans.
The University of Leicester will receive £50,000 to support the design of the Low-Cost Access to Space facility at Space Park Leicester, to ensure it is attractive and accessible to space focussed manufacturers in the area and meets their business needs.
In addition, the LLEP is supporting the development of Space Park Leicester with a further £12.88m from the Local Growth Fund, to transform the former brownfield site opposite the National Space Centre.
Melton Mowbray will receive £75,000 to create a Manufacturing Zone (MAZ). Three locations on the edge of the town, together with a centrally located site have been identified as suitable locations for a distinctive food and drink focused manufacturing zone.
The MAZ will help to sustain and grow food and drink manufacturing by providing an attractive portfolio of land combined with support for demand analysis and feasibility work such as master planning.
Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP said:
“I am delighted that these two projects have been included in the East Midlands Manufacturing Zone pilot announcement today.
“Within our Local Industrial Strategy prospectus the LLEP highlighted 20 potential growth opportunities to increase productivity and support growth across Leicester and Leicestershire.
“For the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector, one of these was to develop an East Midlands Manufacturing Zone pilot to reduce planning restrictions and stimulate investment.
“We have taken this growth opportunity forward through the Midlands Engine call for projects. The funding we have secured will help these projects to deliver two Manufacturing Zones, demonstrating the importance of our Local Industrial Strategy.”
Prof Iain Gillespie, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Leicester, said:
“The UK is in a fantastic position to capture up to £40 billion of the New Space Economy.
“We are really pleased to have secured Manufacturing Zone status which will enable Leicester to build on 50 plus years of space engineering expertise to develop a leading advanced space manufacturing cluster for the growth of regional and national space businesses.
“We look forward to collaboratively planning, designing and delivering the space manufacturing facilities.”
Leader of Melton Borough Council, Cllr Joe Orson said:
“The award of £75,000 grant funding is great news at a very exciting time for Melton.
“This project, along with the adoption of our Local Plan and announcement of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road funding, highlights Melton Borough Council’s intent and commitment to create the conditions for growth and prosperity within our local economy and provide opportunity for our residents and businesses.
“If successful, the delivery of these 82 hectares of employment sites could potentially generate thousands of jobs and support innovation in food sector.”
The East Midlands Manufacturing Zones announcement comes as the Secretary of State, who is also the Government’s Midlands Engine Champion, visits organisations across the East Midlands today to hear how they are contributing to a thriving region at the heart of the UK’s economic success.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire said:
“Manufacturing, innovation and trade are at the heart of the East Midlands economy, so it is the perfect place for the UK’s first Manufacturing Zones.
“This is another example of how the Government’s is delivering for the Midlands with our modern Industrial Strategy backing local businesses and building on local strengths.”