Chiefs zone in on talks

Damien Wilson
Damien Wilson

BUSINESS chiefs are talking to companies interested in moving into a proposed enterprise zone planned for Hartlepool.

The possibility of incentives such as rate relief is a spur which could give the town an advantage over other parts of the world, said Hartlepool Borough Council’s assistant director of regeneration and planning, Damien Wilson.

He spoke after the proposed Enterprise Zone for the Tees Valley was detailed in full for the first time.

The zone, if approved, would include town sites such as Port Estates, Huntsman Pigments, Able Seaton, Queens Meadow, and Oakesway Industrial Estate, between them creating about 6,000 jobs.

Another 37,000 would be created for the other parts of the zone spread across the rest of the Tees Valley.

Mr Wilson (pictured) said: “There is an attraction to visitors and we are talking.”

But he said there was still a lot of work to do to make sure Tees Valley got the zone it was after. The plans still have to be approved by the Government which will receive them on June 28 and are expected to give its reply by the middle of July.

Mr Wilson said: “We are working with the port to promote the offshore wind farm manufacturing facility.

“It is a critical part of their future proposals.”

One of the key aspects of the planned zone will be the incentives it can bring such as capital enhancement allowance, tax increment finance and business rate relief.

Capital allowance would apply at Port Estates, Huntsman Pigments and Able Seaton and would mean huge incentives for larger firms to come to Hartlepool.

Mr Wilson admitted: “It does give us an added advantage which could help to attract business to the area.

“If we can secure this kind of zone, it gives us an advantage over other areas.”

He stressed, though, that it was important for each of the Tees Valley local authorities to work together.