MORE than 500 jobs could be created within 18 months at a specialist aerospace business park near Newquay.
Newquay Cornwall Airport had already been identified as an ‘Enterprise Zone’ (EZ) – a Government-backed scheme aimed at attracting businesses with tax breaks and reduced red tape.
But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today that Newquay’s ‘Aerohub’ EZ was in line to benefit from a boosted national funding pot of £100 million.
The extra money would be used to quickly create a 90-acre Enterprise Zone Business Park to the south of the airport that would form the heart of the Aerohub.
The site requires investment to provide roads and services to develop what is now one of the largest planning-free development zones in the UK.
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which oversees the development of the EZ alongside the airport’s owners, Cornwall Council, has welcomed the Government’s announcement.
LEP chairman Chris Pomfret said: “The Chancellor named Aerohub as one of the strongest original EZ bids and this confidence in our application for investment reinforces our belief that we remain one of the leaders in terms of EZ development.”
Julian German, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for economy and culture, added: “This funding would help enable Aerohub @ Newquay Cornwall Airport to realise its potential and could result in over 500 jobs on the EZ by 2015, allowing for a greater acceleration and expansion of the existing programme.”
The Aerohub is one of 13 EZs in line to receive new funding for 18 projects to build service roads, car parking and other infrastructure, transforming “shovel ready sites into job ready sites”.
It is hoped that the Aerohub site could eventually create up to 2,500 jobs.
AgustaWestland, British International Helicopters and Skybus were already on site when the EZ was announced. Arrivals since include Classic Air Force, which houses the largest collection of flying post-war aircraft in Europe.
Next year, Bristow Helicopters, which won the £1.6 billion search-and-rescue contract for the UK, is to base its operations at the Aerohub bringing up to 50 new jobs. The £10 million Bloodhound Project, which is targeting the world land speed record, has chosen Aerohub as its test base over the next two years.
Ainscough Wind Energy Services intend to expand into the Aerohub Business Park once it is developed.
The aerospace industry is worth around £20 billion per year to the UK economy and the South West is one of the country’s most important regions for the industry.