Political and business leaders have predicted “exciting times” ahead for Lynn after plans to include the town in a new regional enterprise zone were backed by ministers.
Representatives of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) had submitted a bid to the government to develop the scheme at 10 sites across Norfolk and Suffolk, including the Nar Ouse Business Park.
Confirmation that the scheme was being given the go-ahead came during chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement to MPs this afternoon.
And Mark Pendlington, the LEP’s chairman, said: “This is fantastic news for companies locally, nationally and internationally looking to capitalise on our expertise.
“It’s a great boost for businesses and another great economic prize, deservedly won by Norfolk and Suffolk.”
Officials say the enterprise zone will help to create more than 18,000 jobs across the region over the next 25 years, with 5,000 of those being generated by 2021.
The Nar Ouse site, which is linked to the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre that is currently under construction, is expected to attract both new businesses and leading international firms in the agri-tech, engineering and food production industries.
West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said: “This is excellent news for West Norfolk and I am delighted that our bid has been given the go ahead.
“Being designated as an Enterprise Zone will bring a range of benefits that will help to stimulate business growth and aid the removal of physical barriers to achieving that growth in the area – bringing more jobs and opportunities for the people of West Norfolk and beyond.
“King’s Lynn will be promoted regionally, nationally and internationally as a place to do business and that enhanced marketing will bring further investment, which can only be a good thing.”
Mr Daubney said the innovation centre, which is intended to provide help and support for business development, is on schedule to open next spring.
He added: “These are exciting times for King’s Lynn.”
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “This is great news for North West Norfolk as it will encourage further growth in our local economy and support job creation in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.”
The enterprise zone sites, which also include locations in Norwich, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds among others, are all expected to be ready for development work to begin by next March.