Two sites near Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth submitted as possible Investment Zones

Two sites near Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth have been submitted as possible sites for the Government's new Investment Zones.

Wellesbourne Innovation Campus and the West Midlands Gigafactory at Coventry Airport (pictured) have been submitted by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) as Expressions of Interest for consideration.
Wellesbourne Innovation Campus and the West Midlands Gigafactory at Coventry Airport (pictured) have been submitted by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) as Expressions of Interest for consideration.

Wellesbourne Innovation Campus and the West Midlands Gigafactory at Coventry Airport have been submitted by Warwickshire County Council (WCC) as Expressions of Interest for consideration.

In total, WCC has chosen four sites across the county - the others being the MIRA South Site in North Warwickshire Borough and Judkins Quarry in the Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough.

The Government hopes the new Investment Zones will attract investment across the country. But the idea has generated criticism as they are expected to get special tax benefits and different planning processes from the rest of the county, contrary to the current democratic systems currently in place.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said the plans also pose a threat to wildlife, wild places and water quality.

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In response, the leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: “While the council is absolutely committed to driving economic growth and bringing investment and jobs into Warwickshire, this cannot be at the expense of the county’s overarching mission to protect the environment for future generations, while supporting the decarbonisation of the economy and of transport.

“The sites submitted provide a strong sectoral link around the future of automotive and the electrification of West Midlands and UK automotive.

“At this stage, we are making Expressions of Interest so there is a lot that remains to be done. Early indications are that we can work alongside partners to ensure that we maximise the many really exciting opportunities offered to the county in terms of growth, jobs, inward investment, bringing outstanding talent to the county and, as importantly, keeping it here. But we will seek the creation of Investment Zones without compromising our commitment to the environment and driving the county towards net zero emissions by 2035.”

The county’s case to Government, which is expected to make a decision on the proposals in the weeks ahead, has been jointly developed by Warwickshire County Council, local councils and business leaders.

A spokesperson for WCC said: "If successful beyond the Expression of Interest stage, the zones have the potential to unlock new public and private investment and boost the county economy by more than £1.4bn a year, creating over 25,000 jobs, 450 new homes and 1.3m sqm of commercial space.

"The zones would offer tax breaks and other incentives “to make it easier, quicker and cheaper for the private sector to do business” - helping to attract significant inward investment."

Cllr Andrew Day, leader of Warwick District Council, where West Midlands Gigafactory is located, said: “This breakthrough offer from Government will create a favourable climate to secure the £3.4bn in finance to deliver the West Midlands Gigafactory.

“This vital new facility will anchor our important automotive and future mobility supply chain, which already supports 50,000 research, development, and manufacturing jobs locally, as well many more jobs across the region. I welcome this bold initiative, which is just what we need to foster the right environment for step-change investment, making a significant contribution to our shared vision for a net zero carbon future.”