Blackpool's enterprise zone gets off the ground with new tenant

Blackpool's airport-based enterprise zone has got off to a flying start having attracted its first new tenant.

Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 1:13 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 1:21 pm
The team from hi-tech springs maker Force Technology move into the Lightworks building on the new Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Force Technology was officially welcomed as the first new private business moving in by Coun Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development.

The company makes hi-tech, high precision springs for the automotive industry world wide and was attracted to the zone due to its excellent transport links and by the proximity to other businesses on a “world class site”.

Coun Smith said: “We are delighted to welcome Force Technology as the first business of the new era which promises growth and development.”

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He said around 40 other businesses had already expressed interest in the zone.

Force Technology managing director Steve Williams said: “This estate has fantastic road transport links with the M55 nearby and it also has the right sort of appearance for a world class manufacturing company. We want to be surrounded by like minded businesses and finding premises of this ilk is not easy.”

He said the company would be based at the council’s Lightworks building for around two years while a purpose-designed manufacturing premises was built nearby on the site.

Force Technology aims to grow its workforce to 100 in around five years.

Also on hand were representatives from Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company which will be overseeing the development of the Squires Gate zone and the sister enterprise zone at the former ICI Hillhouse site at Thornton on behalf of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP’s Enterprise Zone strategy is based on twin-track approach which looks to deliver jobs and opportunities locally while also creating a county-wide network of high capacity and integrated business hubs that work closely together.

“To help fulfil this vision, the LEP has worked hard with local partners and Government to secure EZ status for Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse and we now have four strong EZ sites, including Samlesbury and Warton, which combined form a significant investor offer to new occupiers within the context of the Northern Powerhouse.

“Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse EZ sites will also capitalise on the recent work of the LEP and local partners in securing a £250m Growth Deal which includes a focus on the economic renewal and regeneration of Blackpool.”