Firms to get warm welcome
PLANS to put Swindon on the business map as an ideal place to relocate by unlocking the town’s economic potential will be debated by council bosses next week.
Among the suggestions being presented to cabinet members on Wednesday is to introduce a one-off payment to companies moving to the borough to help them cover their costs of relocation.
This would be in the form of a lump sum being paid for by rebates from the council’s business rates pot.
The cash would be subject to State Aid restrictions, whereby a public authority is limited to the amount of financial assistance it can offer any individual private sector organisation to around £169,080 over a three-year period.
No business would get an automatic right to the money but would rather have to prove it is supporting the objectives of the council’s economic strategy which looks for growth in priority sectors, retaining existing businesses in the town and growing local jobs.
“We need to be more proactive in attracting new businesses and retaining existing businesses in Swindon,” said Garry Perkins, cabinet member for economy, regeneration and culture. “This will hopefully put Swindon on the map so far as businesses looking to relocate goes.”
Another economic-boosting proposal is to expand the areas covered by Local Development Orders, which were passed through the planning team in August for certain key sites including Swindon’s BMW plant, Blagrove Business Park and Groundwell Industrial Estate .
If the cabinet approves the proposals, then more LDOs will be introduced at locations across the borough. The orders allow businesses to push through non-controversial applications without the need for formal planning permission to be granted.
“The orders will support businesses that want to expand and should save them time as well,” said Coun Perkins.
“They (LDOs) relax existing planning laws, making it much simpler and cheaper for businesses.”
The report also states that in the coming years the links with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will become more critical in the delivery of economic growth as more Government and European funding will be directed through LEPs.
Anyone wishing to attend the cabinet meeting on Wednesday should head to the Civic Office at 6pm. For more information visit www.swindon.gov.uk.
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