King’s Lynn enterprise zone rate rebate ‘will promote growth’, say council chiefs

West Norfolk Council's offices
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Plans to allow firms operating in a Lynn enterprise zone to pay no business rates at all are a “no-brainer”, according to council leaders.

Proposed discounts to be applied to the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area (NORA) enterprise zone, on the outskirts of the town, were approved by West Norfolk Council’s cabinet on Tuesday.

The measures, which still have to be ratified at full council, allow for firms working from premises in the zone to pay no business rates at all for five years.

The same discount would apply to both occupied and unoccupied premises within the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre, which opened in the spring.

Other unoccupied properties in the zone would not have rates charged on them for either nine or 12 months, depending on whether they are industrial premises or not.

The cost of the rebate would be refunded to the council from central government.

Leader Brian Long said: “We don’t often get them where we can say it’s a nobrainer but this is one.”

“We wouldn’t want to take central government funding not to reinvest it.”

If implemented, the discounts will be backdated to April 1 this year, the date on which the area formally obtained enterprise zone status.

The site was one of 10 across the region to receive the designation from the government last year, as part of a bid submitted by the New Anglia local enterprise partnership (LEP).

Performance portfolio holder Nick Daubney said: “This council has done particularly well in agreement with the LEP.

“The cost is less than it would be for most councils and it’s a fantastic opportunity for businesses to invest in an area and a fantastic incentive to invest.

“It’s something we need to promote as hard as we can.”

Deputy leader Alistair Beales added: “ It supports growth and the funding goes back to the LEP and further infrastructure.

“It’s a virtuous circle. The more business, there is the more business there should become.”

The proposal will now go before the next full council meeting on November 17.