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Investment Zone bids submitted to turbocharge Swindon’s growth

Ambitious plans to create two new Investment Zones in Swindon have been submitted to the government by Swindon Borough Council.

The main aim of the zones is to drive economic growth and unlock new housing projects across the country.

The council has identified Central Swindon and the A419 Corridor as ideal areas for the zones, which would deliver a fast growth, high-value economy.

If the bids are successful, the zones will be offered tax breaks, stamp duty relief, national insurance contributions and relaxed planning laws, in order to encourage businesses to set up and grow.

The Swindon Economic Strategy identifies Central Swindon as a future major knowledge economy hub supporting a workforce of 10,000 people, while the area is a priority place for regeneration within the Borough’s Local Plan.

The designation of a town centre investment zone would build on £100 million of investment already being delivered in the heart of Swindon.

Brunel’s former Carriage Works – which is an existing hub for tech SMEs and two universities – would be at the heart of the zone with adjoining underused and vacant development land offering huge potential to deliver high-value growth. A number of major private sector schemes are also being prepared in the local area, which together will deliver over 1,000 homes and 25,000 sqm of new office space.

The Investment Zone identified for the A419 Corridor is centred on land around the former Honda site (pictured), which has been identified for employment use in the Local Plan.

The Swindon Economic Strategy identifies distribution as a key sector for the town and identifies advanced manufacturing as a priority sector. The Investment Zone proposals target both of these activities. The adopted Local Plan also includes a commitment to deliver 120 hectares of new employment land, largely focussed on the east side of the town, where the investment zone is located.

International developer, Panattoni, has outlined plans to invest £750m in the Investment Zone to unlock the full development potential of the site. This is being supported by public sector funding, recognising its strategic potential.

Analysis by UK commercial real estate company, Avison Young, shows that this scale of development will create 11,441 jobs over a 10-year period and create a net GVA of £1.2 billion.

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “We are already growing at pace, but if these two Investment Zone bids are successful, we could grow even faster. It would turbocharge our primary growth clusters and make us an even more attractive place for businesses to invest.

“We have been incredibly successful in securing government funding over the last few years and it is important we continue to demonstrate our ambition for the town so we build on the exciting developments that are already taking place within the Borough.

“We want our economy to keep going from strength to strength so we deliver homes, jobs and a better quality of life for all our residents.”

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