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South west councils launch freeport bid

Three local authorities in the South West have submitted a bid to Whitehall to create a freeport in the region.

Plymouth City Council, Devon County and South Hams District Council have submitted the bid in an attempt to unlock £35m pounds of funding for the area.

According to the local authorities, a Plymouth and South Devon freezone would create space for businesses to import goods and materials and also help attract big marine sector tech companies to the area.

In the submission, the freezone would include sites at South Yard, Langage Energy Zone and Sherford Business Park.

The councils have estimated that such a move could create more than 1,000 new jobs in the first two years and up to 9,000 over the next 10 years and 50 new apprenticeships and 10 internships every year by 2027.

A recent Centre for Cities annual report identified Plymouth as the only major city in the south of England with a major levelling up agenda to address.

‘Quite simply, this bid is a no brainer for the south west and could help our thriving marine sector to build upon its already strong national and international reputation,’ said Plymouth City Council leader, Cllr Tudor Evans.

‘It also makes complete sense to partner with our neighbours, who we already have strong ties with through our development of the joint local plan.

‘Between the three authorities, we have the facilities and we have the industries so if we can get the money and the help from government, then we’ll be looking at a much brighter future in these most uncertain of times.’

The leader of Devon County Council, Cllr John Hart added: ‘This is an excellent example of the type of cross-party cooperation and partnership between councils that we will need to get the economy moving again once the pandemic is over.’

Last month, New Start reported that Thames Enterprise Park had joined a bid to create a freeport on the Thames estuary.

Photo Credit – Mcsc1995 (Pixabay)

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