A NEW government backed initiative which will see 5,500 new jobs in Basingstoke was launched last week.

The London and South Innovation Valley, EZ³, enterprise zone was launched at Belvedere House, in Basing View, on Friday, July 7.

The new business hub could make firms eligible for 100 per cent business rates discount - worth up to £275,000 over a five-year period -and give them access to 5G connectivity.

At the launch it was also announced £10million would be invested to accelerate development of the enterprise zone, which links Belvedere House, Longcross Park, near Chertsey and TechForest in Whitehill and Bordon.

The project has been made possible by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) working with partnering businesses and councils.

Geoff French, CBE, chair of Enterprise M3 said: “Achieving an enterprise zone status is a significant step forward for business growth in our area. With proximity to Heathrow, London and other key transport hubs, EZ³ will strengthen our capacity to attract more businesses, create jobs and build on our sectoral strength in digital and sustainable technologies.”

He added: “The £10 million investment will be used for on-site infrastructure, including new build property, business support, skills, and technology. We will also ensure that eligible businesses have access to the 5G Innovation Centre across all three sites, where they can explore the commercial viability of 5G technology.”

With the launch, the enterprise zone hopes to bring at least 70 new businesses to Basingstoke, as well as take advantage of the excellent transport links to London, Heathrow and Gatwick airports, Southampton Port, as well as the M3 and M25 motorways.

Kathy Slack, director of Enterprise M3 added: “This is really big, it is complex but it is so exciting what we have managed to achieve.”

The successful bid for a multi-site Enterprise Zone was driven by Enterprise M3 LEP working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, East Hampshire District Council, Runnymede Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Crest Nicholson, Aviva Investors and Homes and Communities Agency.

Basingstoke’s MP, Maria Miller, who was in attendance at the launch added: “The Enterprise Zone status at Basing View is an incredibly exciting opportunity for businesses and will really benefit Basingstoke with the prospect of 5,500 new jobs and 70 new businesses.”

EZ³ Enterprise Zone is anticipated to create more than 10,000 jobs, and attract over 130 new businesses to Enterprise M3 area.