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Europarc receives European billing as food status feted at MIPIM 2018

Grimsby’s food enterprise zone is key to unlocking important regeneration opportunities, a European gathering of commercial property professionals has heard. 

Europarc receives European billing as food status feted at MIPIM 2018

Europarc is one of three identified sites with the specialist status in Lincolnshire, and one of only 17 across the UK.

Addressing a panel event at the huge real estate exhibition MIPIM, held in Cannes last week, Justin Brown, enterprise commissioner at Lincolnshire County Council, told how the status is central to Greater Lincolnshire’s economy, with the region leading across three clusters: seafood, arable and poultry and fresh produce.

Mr Brown said: “Over 30 per cent of all UK food transportation starts or ends in Lincolnshire, with the region acting as the largest processor of fish at 70 per cent of the UK market. 

“We have more Grade One agricultural land than any other local enterprise partnership area in England and we process over 25 per cent of the UK’s potatoes and vegetables. 

“It is no surprise that Lincolnshire is the largest food producing region in the UK and is a hot spot for food chain investment. This has only been bolstered in the last year, with the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership recently securing £6.5 million in the Spring 2017 Budget to help unlock our FEZ sites and fund vital infrastructure works such as the delivery of roads, power and water. 

“We have a clear strategy in place for sector growth which outlines our ambition to double the economic contribution our food production sector makes between 2012 and 2030. To support our ambitious plans, we will be: supporting food sector companies which support the growth of supply chains, building on existing clusters such as fresh produce and fish processing, ensuring water is readily available to our FEZ sites, and investing in infrastructure to ensure markets can be accessed effectively. 

As well as Europarc, on the western entrance to Grimsby, Hemswell Cliff and Peppermint Park in Holbeach have the status.  

“Agri-tech is changing at a pace never seen before and rapid growth in automation, new systems and innovation are all attracting specialist companies to set-up and grow across the UK,” Mr Brown said. “We are working hard to ensure that our FEZ are at the heart of this agri-tech revolution and are able to meet the growing needs of the food sector and its innovators.  We are currently developing a FEZ programme to drive collaborative projects, such as promoting efficient supply chains for technology companies. This programme could include direct investment; collaborative applied research and development programmes or company partnerships for technology exchanges. Alongside this, we are also able to ensure Local Development Orders are in place to give planning permission in advance to developments for specific types of use within our FEZ sites – helping developments to move quickly and efficiently in Greater Lincolnshire.

“By refreshing and reviewing our sector plan we are developing clusters of food companies both within and linked to the three FEZ and attracting further inward investment into the food sector and as hubs for business support services for the food chain. We are incredibly proud of all the region has achieved in recent years, and are certain our FEZ sites will continue to attract major players in the food production sector to grow and expand in Lincolnshire.”

The presentation was given on ‘Lincolnshire Day’, featuring presentations led by key delegates including Cllr Martin Hill OBE, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council and Team Lincolnshire sponsor Tim Downing, from property specialist Pygott & Crone. 

Cllr Hill said: “MIPIM is an opportunity for us to tell investors and developers what makes Lincolnshire a place to grow. We’re pro-development, with supportive local planning departments, plenty of land and good transport links. And when it comes to investment, we have an open-door policy – and a strong track record of making major developments happen.

 “A range of major road improvements are currently underway and 100,000 new homes are planned for the county, both bringing new business opportunities. There has never been a better time to do business in Lincolnshire.”

Colin Davie, Executive Councillor for Economy and Place, added: “We consider Lincolnshire to be an excellent place to do business. Many of our businesses tell us that there is a real sense of ‘wanting to get things done’ that runs through the business community. 

“MIPIM is such a fantastic platform to showcase Greater Lincolnshire on a worldwide stage and we are delighted to once again be part of the Midlands Pavilion.”

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