Bristol 'a favourite' to land millions for Enterprise Zone
BRISTOL has been invited to bid for a share of £60 million worth of Government grants as part of the drive to breathe new life into a rundown part of the city.
The Government announced yesterday that the money is being made available to Enterprise Zones across the country and has invited cities to bid for a share of the funding.
But Bristol is a favourite to land a large slice of the cake and has been given the backing of the Government to put together a bid.
Bristol was the first city in the country to launch its Enterprise Zone and the long-term aim is to create thousands of new jobs by attracting new firms to the city.
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The Bristol Enterprise Zone is based around Temple Meads station and the ambitious scheme includes a 12,000 seater indoor arena and new business district.
The new mayor George Ferguson has promised that the long-awaited arena will be built within four years and the land at the rear of the station has already been cleared. The former diesel depot was owned by the South West Regional Development Agency but has been left standing empty for more than a decade.
The Government is making the money available to pay for infrastructure schemes such as new roads and transport schemes. The plan is to make sites ready for new firms to move straight in and set up in business.
Local Government Minister Eric Pickles, left, has called on the Local Enterprise Partnerships to have their business plans for all 24 zones in place by the start of the next financial year.
He said: "Economic growth is this Government's biggest priority and Enterprise Zones are the engine room of that strategy. They are a fantastic way to attract the jobs and business investment that local areas need. This new £60m fund will turbo charge that engine by turning 'shovel ready' sites into job ready sites."