Central Park Enterprise Zone
To aid economic recovery and stimulate growth, the Government is pursuing its programme of Enterprise Zones throughout the country. The Tees Valley Enterprise Zone was announced as part of the Budget in 2011, and its format was agreed between the Government and Tees Valley Unlimited in August 2011. The 12 sites comprising the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone will benefit from a range of incentives including financial, simplified planning rules and high speed broadband.
Central Park is Darlington’s only Tees Valley Enterprise Zone; the Commercial Quarter of this flagship mixed-use regeneration site has been identified as a business rate relief Enterprise Zone site aimed at supporting and facilitating the emerging and fast-growing digital sector. The Commercial Quarter of Central Park is to be known as the Central Park Enterprise Zone.
The Tees Valley Enterprise Briefing Note and Map can be viewed below:
The simplified planning arrangements
One of the conditions attached to the designation of the enterprise zone is that they offer simplified planning rules. The Government is promoting the use of Local Development Orders (LDO) as a means to simplify the process.
An LDO grants planning permission for a specified type and scale of development, subject to conditions where appropriate. They essentially set out the type of development that will no longer need to be subject to a planning application. If the proposed development satisfies the requirements of the LDO, it can be assumed that it has planning consent and development can commence straight away.
It is proposed that the Central Park Enterprise Zone LDO ('the ‘Order') will permit development for business (B1) use, with limited retail (A1), café and restaurant (A3) and drinking establishment (A4) uses in certain circumstances.
The Central Park Enterprise Zone will only form one element of the wider Central Park mixed use development scheme, and will solely cover the areas identified as being suitable for commercial development. The Order will only cover these areas. The Council is working with the developers to revise the Central Park masterplan, and are working to have a new planning permission in place by Summer 2012.
Following a consultation exercise on the draft Order in late 2011 and the subsequent consideration by Secretary of State in February 2012, the Council has adopted the Central Park Enterprise Zone Local Development Order. The Order and its Statement of Reasons can be downloaded below:
- Adopted Central Park Enterprise Zone Local Development Order [pdf document
- Statement of Reasons (April 2012) [pdf document]
What happens next
The Central Park Enterprise Zone has now been designated and is available for development.