Proposals to create a 2.8 million sq ft life sciences enterprise zone in Manchester and expand the existing Airport City enterprise zone by a half have been approved by councillors.
On Wednesday (6 January 2016), Manchester City Council’s executive approved plans to finalise the boundaries for the planned Greater Manchester Life Sciences Enterprise Zone and the enlarged Greater Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone. The government is now expected to lay the orders before parliament to create the former and expand the latter from 1 April 2016.
Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the initiative to create the Greater Manchester Life Sciences Enterprise Zone along with 17 other new enterprise zones across the UK at the time of his Comprehensive Spending Review in November 2015. The proposed zone will span two sites within the Corridor Manchester area, with the first at the Manchester Science Partnerships Central Campus owned by Manchester Science Partnerships and the second at the Clusterlabs site owned by the Central Manchester University Hospital Foundation Trust.
The Greater Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone, one of the first created by the government in 2011, currently spans 12.5 million sq ft of land around Manchester Airport (pictured) but it is proposed to extend this to 18.4 million sq ft. The zone is presently split across Airport City North, Medipark and Roundthorn Industrial Estate, Airport City South, Wythenshawe town centre and Atlas Business Park, and it is envisaged that four additional sites would be introduced at Medipark, a large single site would be added at Airport City South, and a small extension would be brought in for Airport City North.
The proposals had previously been recommended for approval in a report for the cabinet from Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein.
It said: “The designation of the Greater Manchester Life Science Enterprise Zone within Corridor Manchester will help spur the development of a key priority sector for economic growth within the city, and will promote the continuing development of a leading innovation cluster within the North West’s life science sector.
“Along with the expansion of the Greater Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone the combined effect of two areas of the city with enterprise zone designation and the incentives provided will see new businesses attracted to the zones, making it easier for businesses to locate there and generate jobs and wealth for the city.
“The zones will also act as catalysts for new businesses, enabling the city council, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership the scope to reinvest business rate growth into the zones and beyond to attract additional investment.”