Blackpool and Fylde will celebrate a new era for local business when the town’s very first Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport goes live

The new Government backed initiative is providing Enterprise Zone status to the Blackpool Airport site which will help transform the area into a key employment site with the potential to support up to nearly 140 new businesses and up to 3,000 new jobs, over the next 25 years.

To mark the launch of the Zone, Force Technology will be officially welcomed as the first new private business moving in by Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development and representatives from Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company.

Force Technology specialises in the development and innovation of high precision spring applications for the automotive, transport and shipping industry. They will initially be based within Lightworks, Blackpool Council’s Illuminations depot, whilst a bespoke facility is developed for the company within the Enterprise Zone.  Force Technology hopes to grow their workforce to over 120 in the next 5 years

The Airport has already been boosted by the announcement  of  Blackpool and The Fylde College to build a Lancashire Energy Headquarters on the site, with work now having commenced on construction—this exciting facility will be a catalyst for a wide range of new investment from the energy sector  within the Enterprise Zone .

The new Enterprise Zone, along with a sister Enterprise Zone at Hillhouse International Business Park near Thornton, will be  overseen by the Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Economic Development Company  on behalf of the local authorities and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. Both sites will now provide further opportunities for local businesses to develop.

Among the benefits potentially on offer to incoming businesses are business rate relief, up to a maximum of £275,000 over a five year period for new businesses locating before May 2023. This is subject to certain qualifying criteria.

Businesses can also benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances  for investment in fixed plant and machinery  for businesses who take occupation by March 2023.

Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “The opening of the Enterprise Zone is fantastic news and is a key part of  Blackpool Council’s vision for jobs and growth in Squires Gate.

“With the Zone now live we will be looking to push forward with plans that will help to  create up to 3,000 jobs for the local area – from manufacturing to office jobs as well as taking advantage of the Fylde Coast’s unique opportunities in the energy sector including renewables and off-shore oil and gas.

“The launch of the Enterprise Zone is also an important step forward in securing the future of Blackpool Airport’s operations. By protecting key infrastructure such as the main runway, we’ve also secured the potential for expansion and the return of more commercial flights should it become viable in the future.”

Edwin Booth, Chair of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The LEP’s Enterprise Zone strategy is based on twin-track approach which looks to deliver jobs and opportunities locally while also creating a county-wide network of high capacity and integrated business hubs that work closely together. To help fulfil this vision, the LEP has worked hard with local partners and Government to secure EZ status for Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse and we now have four strong EZ sites, including Samlesbury and Warton, which combined form a significant investor offer to new occupiers within the context of the Northern Powerhouse.
“Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse EZ sites will also capitalise on the recent work of the LEP and local partners in securing a £250m Growth Deal which includes a focus on the economic renewal and regeneration of Blackpool. The LEP welcomes the progress being made in Blackpool and looks forward to supporting the delivery of these, and other major initiatives, which will benefit both the town itself and the wider Lancashire economy."

Blackpool Fylde & Wyre EDC will oversee the development of the new Enterprise Zones.