Cornwall - A proactive planning policy to support local growth

Cornwall Council, Cornwall Development Company and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership create an Aerohub Enterprise Zone around Newquay airport to encourage business in the aerospace industry.

Local development order at Aerohub Enterprise Zone, Cornwall Airport Newquay The Budget in 2011 announced the establishment of 21 new enterprise zones (EZs) in local enterprise partnership (LEP) areas.

Enterprise zones allow areas with real potential to create the new businesses and jobs that they need, delivering positive benefits across the wider economic area. The core offer is around simplified planning and business rates discounts, with zones having the potential to develop innovative solutions to address the specific local economic challenges.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP led a successful bid with Cornwall Council to create an Aerohub Enterprise Zone around Cornwall Airport Newquay (NQY) which encourages businesses within the aerospace industry to locate there, creating opportunities for other supporting businesses. The EZ area is 263Ha (650 acres), could accommodate over 200,000m2 of hangar space, office and manufacturing premises and create 5,000 jobs across three development zones and a business park.

The Aerohub Enterprise Zone:

  • is the UK’s only aerospace focused enterprise zone on an operational civilian airport
  • is one of the largest development opportunities in the West of England
  • is a catalyst for new jobs and private sector investment around a key growing asset, the airport
  • will create a new business cluster and learning centre which will develop, enhance and adapt local skills in particular in advanced technologies.

Cornwall Council, the LEP and the Cornwall Development Company prepared a local development order (LDO) on a 35.5ha business park site to the south-west of the airport allowing development to be undertaken through locally determined permitted development rights. Planning freedom is a key incentive to attract investment and new growing business to the Aerohub.

The LDO was originally funded with a Planning Advisory Service pilot grant in 2010. The evolution of the final business park LDO document1 was informed by early and ongoing stakeholder and community engagement including input from an environmental steering group, parish councils, the Cornwall Design Review Panel, a public open day and making material available online. 

The LDO has been in place for four years and has been a direct catalyst for investment and jobs offering speed, certainty and cost efficiencies to investors. The forward thinking of Cornwall Council and the LEP has delivered real results through a proactive planning policy supporting local growth.

Councillor Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council

A key component for this LDO was to deliver flexible planning consent enabling future occupiers to develop in response to their specific requirements without the need to obtain further planning approval. To enable this to happen, the LDO establishes broad parameters against which future development is assessed and consented, but retains the flexibility for how they will proceed.

The LDO is the first of its kind, dealing with a 35.5ha greenfield site, with no existing planning land use and obtaining all of the planning consents to enable it to be fully developed. It provides planning consent, with a 20 year life span, for 115,000m2 of employment floorspace with preferred but not fixed locations for office, hotel and retail uses. It defines primary and secondary road frontages, public realm and street planting and establishes phased delivery for surface water drainage infrastructure

Our planning free zone, still one of the largest in the UK, is one of our main propositions to investors looking to locate in Cornwall. We can offer a rapid solution with absolute certainty. This has delivered additional investment that might have been lost in the absence of our LDO.

Miles Carden, Enterprise Zone Manager