The Temple Quarter Business Zone will be officially opened for business this morning, with the promise that the site will spark an economic revival across the West Country.
More than 200 businesses from across Bristol and the South West will gather in the new big top event space next to Temple Meads station this morning to hear the progress so far on the site’s transformation.
The public will then be invited to come along later in the day for music and magic at the big top, thanks to the Invisible Circus.
Last summer, the government announced Bristol would be the home of an enterprise zone, which will include high-speed broadband, as well as no business rates for five years and relaxation of planning regulations. Up to 17,000 new creative jobs are hoped to be created over the next 25 years, according to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Yesterday, LEP Chair Colin Skellett said the opening ceremony would be a “significant day for us all”, adding: “The Enterprise Zone and the five Enterprise Areas will act as a catalyst for economic development which will benefit the whole of the West of England.”
The infamous arena for Bristol is once again being mentioned as a possibility for the site, while recent developments and plans in the pipeline include:
- Investment of around £5m by the Homes and Communities Agency for the acquisition of Brunel’s Old Station (to be owned by the City Council);
- The “Creative Common” project to creates an exhibition and performance space, supported by a restaurant and commercial units on the former car park at Plot 3;
- The awarding of up to £12m from the £100m Super-Connected Cities project, which aims to introduce superfast broadband into 10 cities and will place the Enterprise Zone at the centre of a high-speed digital network;
- Plans by the City of Bristol College to create a digital and media hub in the Enterprise Zone;
- Ongoing talks with the BBC for a potential move of its Bristol base at Whiteladies Road to the Enterprise Zone;
- Network Rail, together with its partners, is developing a strategy to transform Bristol Temple Meads into a world-class rail gateway for the city by the end of the decade. This proposal aims to expand the station area and increase train services to cater for the growing rail demand in Bristol;
- New businesses moving to the Enterprise Zone, or existing businesses already located there who can show substantial growth, will be able to claim a business rate discount of up to £60,000 per annum for five years.
Two marketing companies have already become the first to take up residence in the Zone, boosting the city’s credentials as a creative hub.
Sister companies EMO and The Real Adventure (TRA) have brought together more than 220 marketing professionals from across the South West, including a site in Clifton, into the prestigious waterfront Glass Wharf building at Temple Quay.
Outgoing Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke said: “Bristol has a huge amount to offer potential businesses wishing to invest. We are one of the most business friendly, green cities in Europe with a track record of supporting innovative companies to thrive and grow.
“With its simplified planning and business rate discounts, the Enterprise Zone offers an exciting investment opportunity at the heart of the city and the South West region.”
For more information about the Enterprise Zone, visit the website here…