07:12 Wednesday 17 August 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY GALL: Neil Darwin is Director of Economic Development at Opportunity Peterborough, and can speak to us now. Good morning Neil.
NEIL DARWIN: Good morning Andy.
ANDY GALL: Alconbury have been chosen as the Enterprise Zone by the Government.
NEIL DARWIN: Indeed.
ANDY GALL: Peterborough did apply but wasn’t selected.
NEIL DARWIN: That’s right.
ANDY GALL: Your thoughts this morning?
NEIL DARWIN: We’re really pleased. The important thing was we got an Enterprise Zone in the area, and it’s fantastic news that we have indeed got one. The important thing is that having Alconbury deisgnated means that it’s good for Peterborough, irrespective.
ANDY GALL: Does it mean though that because Enterprise Zones in the ’80s, when they came about, they were sort of blue-chip companies would be drawn to them, but then they became sort of employment blackspots.
NEIL DARWIN: Indeed. It’s a very interesting policy line the Government have taken. Some of them did work in the ’80s. Some of them failed miserably. And again, what the Government have done this time is say that they’re going to focus on growth, growth-focused areas. What they mean by that is they’re going to put them in places like Alconbury, rather than in the middle of Blackburn or Burnley or places of that ilk.
ANDY GALL: But what kind of industry is it going to attract in the current climate?
NEIL DARWIN: At the moment we’ve been talking to Urban & Civic who own the site down there. They’re very keen to try and attract overseas business to the area. And there’s still plenty of demand for that, around some of the modern technologies that are coming forward. So biotech and all those sorts of things. So it’ll be interesting. From a Peterborough perspective it will be very interesting to see how it takes off. And actually the important thing for Peterborough residents is actually having, as Urban & Civic have described in the proposal, up to 6,000, 7,000 jobs. It’s having those jobs on the doorstep, because it’s actually very commutable from Peterborough. So there’s a real win-win there, in terms of having jobs on the doorstep.