Sandwich Enterprise Zone
David Cameron has named the former Pfizer site in Sandwich as one of 11 new enterprise zones which he hopes will help kick-start Britain's economy and act as "trailblazers for growth, jobs and prosperity throughout the country".
It means the site, which has been re-branded as "Discovery Park", now benefits from tax breaks, simplified planning rules and high speed internet links, to make it easier to attract businesses to relocate there.
The move comes six months after Pfizer announced it was pulling out of its research and development facility in East Kent, with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs.
It is estimated that turning the site into an enterprise zone could help it support nearly 200 businesses and up to 2,600 jobs.
Laura Sandys MP for Sandwich and South Thanet has told Heart: "Today marks an important and significant step in regenerating the East Kent economy following the departure of Pfizer announced this year.
"Enterprise Zone status will offer new start-ups business rate relief, it will provide a hub for high tech as well as a lower skilled workforce as it has a wide range of commercial buildings with different specialisations."
It has also been announced that Sandwich will get £25m of investment from the government to improve flood defences in the area.
The money will help protect Discovery Park, nearly 500 homes and valuable infrastructure, including the main coastal access roads, and key tourist and employment areas. The work to strengthen defences should be completed by 2015.
Speaking during a visit to Sandwich, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "Together, these announcements are a great achievement by the Sandwich Economic Task Force.
"The Government is keen to make use of the specialist skills in the area, and to maintain a life sciences hub in East Kent. This scheme will provide security to thousands of households and unlock another major economic opportunity."
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