Make Royal Docks an Enterprise Zone, mayor urges

The Royal Docks should become a designated Enterprise Zone to ensure regeneration, Newham’s mayor has said.

Chancellor George Osbourne is expected to use Budget speech on March 23 to announce the creation of ten such sites across the UK.

Enterprise Zones enable local authorities to levy discounted business rates in order to encourage investment.

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales wrote to Mr Osbourne this week, urging him to include the Royal Docks in the list.

He said such a move was vital to ensure the area was able to capitalise on the massive regeneration sparked next year’s Olympic Games.

In his letter, Sir Robin said: “With just over a year to go before the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we should be focusing our efforts on maximising returns on the huge public investment that has already gone into the area.

“We hope for this reason the Treasury will allow us to take advantage of any available stimulus intended to generate further inward investment.”

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The Royal Docks are already the subject of a five-year plan by Sir Robin and the Mayor of London aimed at encouraging cleaner, greener businesses to revive expanses of derelict brownfield land.

Schemes already in place include the arrival of the Siemens pavilion and the proposed cable car link from The O2 to the ExCeL centre.

Sir Robin added: “We have already succeeded in attracting world-renowned international businesses such as Siemens and Westfield to Newham.

“The area is perfect for an enterprise zone, with outstanding transport connections and demonstrable potential to generate a significant contribution to UK growth.

“However, we must commit to finishing the job.

“Giving us the wherewithal to secure further investment will mean not only a lasting economic legacy from employment when the athletes go home, but ensure our children can look forward to the same opportunities as those living in more affluent parts of the capital.”