Corby Conservatives call for Downing Street intervention over failed Enterprise Zone bid

Corby's Conservative group hope that the decision will be reversed.
Corby's Conservative group hope that the decision will be reversed.

Corby Council’s Conservative group have written to George Osborne calling for him to intervene following the town’s failed Enterprise Zone bid.

In April the Chancellor indicated that he felt Corby was likely to become an Enterprise Zone, but a joint bid with East Northamptonshire District Council was rejected by the Department for Communities and Local Government last week.

The letter from the five-strong group of councillors thanks the Chancellor for the support he gave to Corby’s bid and for his optimism towards the town when he visited Weetabix in 2014, and then goes on to ask him to intervene in the decision and to help Corby to become an Enterprise Zone.

The letter reads: “In April this year we were delighted to learn that you share our optimism for Corby when you announced that the borough was likely to be designated as an Enterprise Zone, and we were equally impressed with the support you showed towards our home when you visited Weetabix in Corby in 2014.

“Following the unsuccessful Enterprise Zone bid we must again request your support and ask that you use your good offices as Chancellor of the Exchequer to make the economic case for Corby and help us to become an Enterprise Zone.

“Corby is in much need of the assistance that an Enterprise Zone would bring, particularly with the recent job losses at Fairline Boats, which is one of the town’s major employers.

“The ongoing difficulties at Tata Steel also present a significant threat for Corby.

“Equally, we have major ambitions for the future to which Enterprise Zone status would be invaluable.

“Corby has undergone significant regeneration in the last few years and it is hoped that the area’s population, which currently stands at 63,000 will reach 100,000 by 2030.

“The local ‘Team Corby’ Conservatives are determined to deliver a Corby that is the capital of the East Midlands and we are actively seeking to promote the WeLoveCorby Tourism Programme which, coupled with an Enterprise Zone, could see millions of pounds of private sector investment in Corby.”

The Conservatives will continue to bring forward the tourism proposals through incorporating leisure services into a trust fund, but had hoped to build the Enterprise Zone into the project.

Corby Council’s leader of the opposition Cllr Rob McKellar said: “Corby has an extremely bright future and its optimistic and determined people will succeed in building a Corby which is the capital of the East Midlands one way or another, but there is no question that Enterprise Zone status would be a massive help in achieving this.

“The Chancellor of the Exchequer has passed extremely positive comments about Corby in the past and was clearly hopeful that Corby would become an Enterprise Zone when he encouraged us to bid for this back in April.

“The decision to decline Corby’s application was not made by the Chancellor or by the Treasury, but was made within the Department for Communities and Local Government.

“We are hopeful that the Chancellor can exert some influence and hopefully help Corby to become an Enterprise Zone after all.”

The Government has also been lobbied by MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove and last week Corby Council expressed its disappointment at the news.