Minister's Visit Supports Heart Of The South West

14th April, 2011
Members of the Heart of the South West steering group met with Minister Mark Prisk MP yesterday to report on progress of the newly established Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The Minister of State for Business and Enterprise congratulated the steering group on its hard work in putting together a successful submission and the joint approach taken by business, the four partner Local Authorities and District Councils across the area.

After speaking on how LEPs could help economic growth through harnessing a natural sense of civic pride and extending partnership working, he answered a range of questions put to him by the steering group.

Topics covered included putting a co-ordinated approach and sustainable development at the top of the planning agenda along and the improvement of area infrastructure including broadband.

In addition, the Minister clarified the relationship between Enterprise Zones (EZ) and LEPs. He stated that EZs were designed to be flexible. He explained that there was certainly room for more than one EZ within the geographical area of an LEP, something that had been a concern for the South West since part of Bristol was designated as the first zone in the last round.

Going further, Mr Prisk said that Enterprise Zones were intended to make the most of economic strengths and opportunities, as opposed to the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), which was created to lift and regenerate an area.

Acting Chair of the Heart of the South West partnership, Jeremy Filmer-Bennett said: ?It was a useful and informative meeting and we were particularly pleased to have secured the Minister?s support for our Broadband Development UK (BDUK) bid for superfast broadband in rural areas.

?The Heart of the South West Partnership has set out substantial aims and a vision for the region, and we are looking to recruit a powerful and dynamic Board to act as force for growth.?

Heart of the South West is now one of 32 partnerships created since the Government?s Local Growth White Paper published in October 2010.