Nottingham City Council today welcomes the news that work on a key part of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone has moved a step closer with the appointment of civil engineering company C A Blackwell to carry out public access works on the Walgreens Boots Alliance site at Beeston.

The site represents a large-scale opportunity for Nottingham to capitalise on growing demand from private firms for Grade A space in the city that links to the extensive infrastructure which has been invested in over the past few years.

The first works to prepare the site will take the city a step closer to unlocking the site’s £22m potential.

Contractors have been given the go-ahead to carry out crucial works including a new access road and bridge across the Beeston Canal to link the A52 with the site on the Walgreens Alliance Boots headquarter campus, in a bid to attract more businesses to locate to Nottingham.

Utilities and drainage works will also be carried out as part of the first phase to ready the site for development and marketing, after it received planning permission in December for around 900,000 sq ft of new commercial opportunities and 675 new homes.

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said:  “These works are the key to unlocking significant potential for the city.  A lot of work has been taking place behind the scenes for several years, and it’s good to reach this milestone. The Enterprise Zone, along with all the investment in the city’s infrastructure over the past few years, helps us to position Nottingham as a key destination for high-growth business, with all the benefits this brings to local residents through jobs and a strong economy.  It also builds on our success so far in developing the life sciences sector.”

The 100 hectare site already hosts the well-established business incubator MediCity – a collaboration between Walgreens Boots Alliance and BioCity.

The Nottingham Enterprise Zone comprises four separate business and science parks around the city, each offering incentives including reduced business rates, simplified planning processes and superfast broadband to companies choosing to locate there.

The focus is on up and coming life sciences businesses, which make up a growing part of Nottingham’s employment landscape and are seen as a key sector where the city has a competitive advantage, with a strong talent pool, transport connections, a track record of innovation and offers a lower cost of operations to businesses escaping the overheating South East.

The City Council is keen to see that local residents benefit from the development, with opportunities for supply chain businesses to gain extra work, and job opportunities created both through the construction phase and with the business who will expand and locate to the site.

Councillor Chapman, Deputy Leader for Nottingham City Council and Portfolio for Resources and Neighbourhood Regeneration, said: “As well as the medium and long term regeneration and economic benefits that the Enterprise Zone will bring to the immediate area and the wider city, we will also be working closely with the contractors to ensure that local suppliers and job seekers benefit from job opportunities and apprenticeships and training on the sites.”

Enterprise Zones are one of the Government’s flagship growth policies, and the hopes for their future were unveiled by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on a previous visit to the Boots campus in March 2011.

David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “As a funding partner in this Enterprise Zone site, with D2N2 having secured the £6m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund needed for the link road and related development, we welcome this important next step.

“Life sciences is a key business sector for both the City and D2N2, and an increasingly important employer locally.”

MediCity Director, David Browning, also commented: “We welcome this announcement and the commitment by Boots to investment in the whole site. MediCity offers ambitious entrepreneurs a unique environment in which to start up and grow their businesses, and the site is transformed this will attract yet more companies. Several firms have moved into our facility on the strength of the support from our advisers, and drawn by the opportunity to work closely with the Boots innovation teams.”