The North Kent Innovation Zone bid – with the prospect of an estimated 9,900 new jobs – was led by the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership, selected as its priority by the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership and submitted to government by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.
Extending the sector focus on innovation in life sciences, advanced manufacturing and engineering in the Kent Innovation Corridor, NKIZ covers three sites – the Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone (pictured), Rochester Airport Technology Park in Medway, and earmarked sites in Ebbsfleet Garden City (spanning Dartford and Gravesham).
The three elements of NKIZ will deliver around 230,000m2 of high quality business premises over nearly 64 hectares of land by 2027, boosting the local economy, employment and training opportunities in Kent and Medway.
Enterprise Zones offer a number of incentives to business occupiers, including business rates discounts worth up to £55,000 per year for five years, to help accelerate investment and growth.
Kent & Medway Economic Board also put forward the Channel Corridor Enterprise Zone in Shepway as its second Kent priority. Although that bid was not successful, the district council and its partners must surely have been partying into the small hours after the Chancellor announced £250m to find a solution to the transport problems associated with Operation Stack.