Nottingham has taken a step closer to securing a major new development that could bring in thousands of jobs.
The Nottingham Enterprise Zone will turn surplus land at the Boots headquarters in Beeston into a site occupied by 675 new homes, offices and laboratories for health beauty and wellbeing businesses.
Initial plans for the development were approved on Wednesday, along with an application to build a new road that will connect Thane Road with Humber Road South and is designed to make it easier to access the Enterprise Zone.
Ken Murphy, managing director, Health and Beauty International and Brands, Alliance Boots, said:
“We are thrilled with the results of our planning application. These plans, as part of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, reiterate our long term ambition to invest in sustained economic growth and job creation in Nottingham and further contribute to this city and the UK’s leading reputation in the life sciences industry.
“This announcement affirms the next step and most exciting phase of progress on the Nottingham Enterprise Zone that we have seen yet, as we continue on our journey to creating a Health, Beauty and Wellbeing hub development.”
D2N2, the local enterprise partnership for Nottinghamshire, secured £6m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund to fund the link road and a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Beeston Canal.
David Ralph, Chief executive of D2N2, said the Enterprise Zone has the potential to create “several thousand” highly skilled jobs. He said:
“This is part of a long term initiative to increase wages and skill levels across Nottingham.”
Mr Ralph said he expects work to start on the new road in the Spring and Boots has confirmed that it will to issue an invitation for contractors to tender for the work on the new homes and business buildings soon.
The application was approved by the planning committees of Nottingham City Council and Broxtowe Borough Council, as the development falls within both areas.
Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council, said:
“The Nottingham Growth Plan has been able to support business growth in areas where Nottingham has a real advantage, including life sciences, and the Enterprise Zone will be a major delivery mechanism for this.
“The long-standing historical associations Boots has with the city are entering a new era and the advantages our Enterprise Zone can confer by opening up more of the site to businesses in the sector are unique.
“We welcome this decision as supporting the city’s long term ambitions and helping to attract further new investment.”
Councillor Richard Robinson, portfolio holder for Jobs and Business Growth, Broxtowe Borough Council:
“We welcome this mixed use development in our Borough within the Enterprise Zone, which is a key priority in terms of economic growth and for the regeneration of a predominantly brownfield site. Significant numbers of jobs and new homes will be created and it will encourage growth which is a Council priority. The proposed development will revitalise what is now surplus land to the business requirements of Alliance Boots and provide much needed investment to regenerate a key strategic site Broxtowe Borough.”
Councillor Diana Meale, chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Economic Development Committee:
“Securing planning permission marks a significant moment for this flagship site, unlocking enormous potential for new business investment and the creation of jobs in the county and city. We have worked closely with Boots and with both Broxtowe Borough and Nottingham City Councils to support the planning work behind the scenes and I am delighted at the progress being made.”
The Enterprise Zone was first revealed in 2011 by David Cameron as part of a push to kickstart growth during recession.
The scheme also includes Beeston Business Park, MediCity and Nottingham Science Park.
However, when the Prime Minister visited the Boots site earlier this year he voiced frustration at the slow pace of progress on the site.