Food zone could give businesses a chance to use simpler and cheaper planning process
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Food businesses could find it easier to open in an area of Weston-super-Mare in the future, as they may have the option to go through a simpler planning process.
North Somerset Council is consulting on its plans for the next stage of the Food and Drink Enterprise Zone by junction 21.
The authority was one of six councils in the country to be chosen by the Government to create a Food Enterprise Zone in 2015.
It was hoped the initiative would make it easier for food and drink businesses to expand, and new ones to be set up.
The council has funding and planning permission to build a £11.3million food and drink centre at junction 21, which could create up to 250 jobs and will allow people to develop products and conduct research.
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The council wants to put a local development order (LDO) in place, which means people wanting to create food and drink businesses in the enterprise area will be able to go through a simplified planning process.
It also significantly reduces the cost of submitting a planning application, as a number of surveys and assessments have already been carried out.
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The purpose of LDOs is to support economic growth.
A council document outlining the plans says: “The LDO is intended to encourage new business development connected to the food and drink manufacturing, processing and distribution industry to the area and to help small and medium size enterprises in this industry to expand.
“The key focus of the LDO is to support the improvement of the food supply chain in the South West, linking farmers and producers at the very start of the food chain to food development and manufacturing, but also encouraging links to distributors and retailers.
“North Somerset already has a strong food and drink sector, but the LDO is intended, in particular, to support small and medium size enterprises looking to grow and develop.”
If the LDO is introduced, it will be active for five years.
The council is consulting on the proposals until noon on March 1.
To view the plans and to comment, visit http://consult-ldf.n-somerset.gov.uk/consult.ti/FEZ_LDO/consultationHome