Enterprise zone on track to being world class performer

Under the Humber Bridge, Hull.
Under the Humber Bridge, Hull.
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With almost 500 hectares of prime development land, the equivalent in area to 780 football pitches, the Humber Enterprise Zone is the biggest and most ambitious nationwide.

Set up in 2012 as a partnership between the private sector and local authorities to boost business and create jobs, the Humber Enterprise Zone is a vital component of the work to stimulate growth across the Humber, stretching from Brough to Paull to Grimsby with portside sites on both banks of the estuary which are proving successful in spearheading recovery and building economic optimism locally.

Its unique geographical position, together with the progress made in securing better infrastructure connectivity via road, rail and super-fast broadband has enabled the Humber Enterprise Zone to be the location of choice for blue chip companies, including Siemens, Eon, and CLS Offshore with more to come, positioning the area as the national centre for the off-shore wind sector.

Currently, there is more than £822.5m investment planned and 5,850 jobs are expected for the zone.

A key success in building the Energy Estuary is Siemens’ commitment to site its wind turbine assembly, blade manufacturing and shipping facilities at Hull’s Alexandra Dock, creating 1,000 jobs.

Last week the company announced the blade manufacturing operation will be optimised to increase capacity and provide for exports.

This £310m investment is a major milestone for the Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) vision for the Humber becoming an internationally renowned centre for renewable energy and the catalyst to attract more investment.

The South Humber Bank is set to be transformed by the development of a £450m Marine Energy Park by Able UK which plans to create around 4,000 jobs.

It is the largest site available for port-related developments in Europe.

Along the proposed 1,289m quay will be latest purpose-built facilities for the manufacture, assembly and installation of offshore renewable technologies. Preparatory work is already under way, funded by a £14.9m grant secured by the LEP and North Lincolnshire Council.

In Grimsby, port land has been dedicated to the development of the operations and maintenance support services for off-shore wind farms. Eon Energy was one of the first to locate on the former fish dock, investing £4m and creating 30 jobs.

The onshore facility will support the teams working on the 73 turbines at its 219MW Humber Gateway offshore wind farm. The facility is a model of energy efficiency with its own solar array, roof-top wind turbines and charging points for electric vehicles.

Progress is being made on enterprise zone sites all around the estuary and is not limited to offshore wind.

An outstanding success is the Marfleet Environmental Technology Park on Hedon Road in Hull. The former site of the well-known model kit company Humbrol hosts chemical firm Nippon Gohsei, hauliers Middlegate Shipping and Neill and Brown Global Logistics and several other small businesses who collectively have invested £10m and are currently employing around 100 people.

Thanks to the commitment and innovation of our partners, we’ve seen the Marfleet site go from an empty, crumbling factory to a state-of-the-art technology centre which is fully occupied ahead of schedule. There’s already considerable interest in neighbouring Burma Drive.

Plots released for the first phase have sold well and the phase two enterprise zone plots will be ready for occupiers from April 2015.

Being part of the Hedon Road corridor, we expect demand to be buoyant as Burma Drive is so close to the main Siemens Green Port Hull site at Alexandra Dock. All the plots will have a highway frontage and provision for all services.

New companies have also moved on to the Humber Enterprise Park at Brough, taking over from some of the space vacated by BAE Systems.

There with a skilled workforce and modern facilities on hand, the site is now home to manufacturers such as Cablescan, Blackcat Homes and aerospace components firm Supercraft, building on the area’s reputation for engineering and manufacturing.

Having the largest Enterprise Zone in England on our patch is a huge challenge and responsibility, and we have made considerable progress. Due to the strength of the partnership among members of the LEP Humber-wide, we have together established the area as an increasingly attractive location.

All partners are committed to building on the momentum created and transforming the Humber into a world class powerhouse for energy and industry.