Efforts by East Northants Council to boost its chances of having an enterprise zone

The meeting is taking place in Thrapston on Monday
The meeting is taking place in Thrapston on Monday

A council is trying to boost its chances of a successful bid for an enterprise zone in the future.

East Northamptonshire Council was part of a joint bid with Corby Council and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) for an enterprise zone in the Rockingham area of the district last year.

But they found out in November that their bid for an enterprise zone, which is aimed at boosting the economy and employment opportunities in an area, had been unsuccessful.

Following brief feedback on why the bid failed, East Northants Council is considering how it can strengthen its position before trying again.

Members of the council’s policy and resources committee will meet next week to discuss becoming a member of the South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), which they hope will put them in a much stronger position to be part of a successful bid.

A report due to be considered by councillors at the meeting on Monday states: “It is proposed that we join SEMLEP.

“The cost is modest; the annual subscription paid by district councils who are members of SEMLEP for 2014/15 is £7,000.

“This cost can be met from existing budgets.

“It is not possible to quantify the potential benefits, but they are likely to be significant, particularly if SEMLEP provides a vehicle for getting the enterprise zone approved.

“We know that SEMLEP are keen to have us on board.

“Leaders and chief executives have made recent approaches to us, and meetings are scheduled this month to discuss our possible membership.

“It is proposed that we negotiate our terms of entry such that we get assurances that SEMLEP will support and lobby for our key priorities, particularly the enterprise zone, Chowns Mill and the dualling of the A45 from Stanwick to Thrapston.”

If last year’s bid had been successful, the potential sites for the enterprise zone were all located around Rockingham Speedway, and each had been given a likely use of either manufacturing, offices or logistics.

To see the report, which says the Northampton enterprise zone was created following a successful bid through SEMLEP, go to www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/644/policy_and_resources_committee.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm on Monday, January 18, in the council chamber at the East Northants Council offices in Cedar Drive, Thrapston.