Enterprise Zone “gazelle” companies (some in Devon) have unintended consequences

“Britain’s fastest-growing businesses could be contributing to job losses, according to research that claims the government’s policy of backing entrepreneurial companies “may be fundamentally at odds” with tackling regional inequalities.

A study of the performance of more than six million companies over a period of 17 years found that high-growth businesses had a “spillover” effect that could damage local employers.

Fast-growing companies, sometimes dubbed “gazelles”, have been identified in recent years as a way of boosting job creation and improving the nation’s productivity. Despite accounting for less than 5 per cent of businesses, these companies create about half of all new jobs and typically show higher levels of productivity.

However, the study, conducted by the Enterprise Research Centre, found that companies with the fastest employment growth — 20 per cent growth every 12 months for three consecutive years — tended to grow by “hoovering up” jobs from slower- growing businesses in the same region, in what the researchers called a “crowding-out competition effect”.

A 1 per cent rise in the incidence of high-growth businesses in a region was found to actually slightly cut employment, by 0.35 per cent on average — equivalent to a net loss of about 122,000 jobs UK-wide over the period studied, 1997-2013. The worst affected regions included the Scottish Highlands, Cheshire, the North East, Lincolnshire and Devon. In contrast, many urban areas in the South East and Midlands saw a net jobs gain.

Negative effects were most pronounced in the manufacturing sector and rural parts of the UK, where competition for skilled workers was most intense, the researchers said.

The fastest growing companies often attract the most skilled workers in a region where such staff are scarce, leaving slower-growing rivals struggling to attract employees and having to pay more to keep existing team members. As a result they hire fewer people and could be forced into job cuts.

Mike Harding, director of Inspira Digital, said that his ecommerce agency based in Barnstaple, Devon, competes with a London-based agency with a satellite office in north Devon. “If you have someone offering London wages here, that is a black hole that sucks up the local talent,” he said.

The issue can be exacerbated by large companies being offered tax breaks to open an office in Devon in the name of local development, Mr Harding said.

Professor Jun Du of Aston University, one of the authors of the research, said that “while encouraging clusters of fast-growth firms can bring productivity benefits to whole supply chains, some regions and industries with acute skills shortages could see unintended consequences”.

Source: The Times (pay wall)

EDDC councillor desperately tries to justify expansion of Greendale and Hill Barton – going against Village Built Up Area requirements

Owl says: what a lot of help Greendale and Hill Barton are getting from (some) EDDC councillors! Hurriedly arranged meetings, a desperate race to find loopholes to allow expansion and now this. Is it a personal comment? Well, an awful lot of “we” in there!!! And quoting 2012 consultant’s views in 2018 – astonishing! AND playing down their own industrial sites (too big for small businesses) – REALLY!

“Mike Allen comment to Inspector on Hill Barton and Greendale issues

(The Lead Councillor for Business and Employment in East Devon District Council (EDDC) and past Chair of the Local Plan Forum which developed the current EDDC Local Plan)

EDDC welcomes proposals for business investment and the creation of units for small and medium sized enterprises across the East Devon area subject to NPPF and Local Plan criteria.

We appreciate that cumulative development along the A3052 road corridor has the potential to negatively impact upon existing communities and infrastructure and the operations of existing businesses. The lack of objection from Highways England on a recent nearby planning application is significant Hill Barton (HB) and Greendale Business Park (GBP) are situated near recently approved (on appeal) Yeo Business Park. This determination is of direct material significance in considering further proposed development.

I will examine four main areas of consideration for Economic development in respect of this SPD for Business Parks:

1) It could be reasonably assumed that the Planning Inspector’s view that employment space proposals of a ‘relatively small-scale development that would provide jobs for local people’ would be applicable to the current plans for Business Parks in the area. It is similarly likely that this location would also be deemed a suitable location for small scale business units at appeal.

2) Greendale and Hill Barton Business Parks are larger scale and vitally important to the economic expansion of East Devon outside of the Science Park and Skypark areas.

3) The lack of residential neighbours means no loss of amenity.

4) There is clear demand for the facilities at Hill Barton and Greendale, without which business expansion would not be accommodated elsewhere. The medium quality, flexibility and appeal of the industrial storage space and units for larger growing businesses in the district is essential.

To be clear, we have no economic basis on which to challenge further development within the perimeters set in the Villages DPD.

5) EDDC’s Economic Development team have reviewed the Draft Villages Plan as well as the Sustainability Appraisal. Having also reviewed Strategy 27 and Policy E7 of the adopted Local Plan, in addition to material evidence in respect of employment land delivery below, I recommend that the Greendale (GD) and Hill Barton (HB) employment sites be removed from this Villages Development Plan.
Approval of this draft Villages DPD with GD and HB included will exacerbate the undersupply of employment premises we are already experiencing through non-delivery of our employment allocations in the adopted Local Plan.

The Council’s strategic drive is to prioritise the development of employment land in the west of the district. Any applicants are advised to examine the potential suitability of our Enterprise Zone sites (Inc. the Exeter Airport Business Park Expansion site; Cranbrook Town Centre; Skypark & Science Park), all of which benefit from infrastructure investment in excess of £25 million and include enhanced transport corridor infrastructure, rail stations and employment site infrastructure as well as being immediately adjacent to Exeter Airport and A30 and M5 junctions.

However, we are aware of some businesses feeding back a view that sites, such those examined above are aimed predominantly at the medium to large scale employers with scientific and professional or transport accommodation requirements in excess of 5,000 sq. ft. This can fail to meet the needs of many new and growing local medium sized manufacturing / B2 class businesses many of which would not be welcome in proximity to residential areas or on Science Parks.

In 2012 East Devon District Council Commissioned Professor Nigel Jump of Strategic Economics Ltd to carry out an independent assessment of the economic impact of the two strategic employment sites in East Devon. His conclusions were clear in that investment in these locations has unlocked valuable employment and economic growth in the district.

Moreover, these sites have the potential to make further economic net benefits (job creation, added GVA and inward investment) throughout challenging economic periods
to come. The report concludes that when social and environmental factors are considered, there remains a net positive impact of extended capacity at these sites which are yet to run their full course.

In light of this EDDC commissioned evidence, inclusion of Greendale and Hill Barton within the Villages DPD is unwarranted, contrary to the specialist advice we have commissioned and would cause demonstrable harm to the district.

These findings are echoed in 3 subsequent studies of demand for industrial and commercial space in East Devon which formed the overall economic element of the EDDC Local Plan which placed great weight on the sustainable balance of social, economic and environmental issues as the “Golden thread” which ran through the Local Plan and the NPPF

The proposals for the development of medium sized businesses of B2/B8 category fit well with a large number of B use premises enquires received by Economic Development in the last 2 years,

The filling out and redevelopment of Greendale and Hill Barton will complement the demand for larger B use provision and remain a welcome addition to the diverse mix of commercial accommodation required to facilitate indigenous business growth as well as the district’s ability to meet the needs of potential inward investors seeking to become established or grow their operations in East Devon.

Having recently reviewed B use premises demand across the district, the following updates can be cited: –

In Exmouth, B use accommodation at Liverton Business Park is in high demand. We have seen speculative build in this location with all but their final unit now let. They are unable to accommodate further demand

Across Clinton Devon Estate’s whole East Devon portfolio of commercial property; they have no other vacant B use premises available, representing a significant shortage of supply.

The Exeter and Heart of Devon Commercial Premises Register has received 43 separate enquiries for B1 Office accommodation in the District in the last 3 months

Greendale have received more than 80 B use premises enquiries in the last 12 months totalling more than 850,000 sq. ft.

Also, west of the Enterprise Zone, land is being brought forward for speculative development of small, flexible B use units.

Recently, as part of their Business Plan for the use of the Owen Building, Rolle Exmouth Ltd provided details of 59 separate businesses, social enterprises, individuals, groups/classes, education & training providers who have declared an interest in finding small SME commercial premises in Exmouth
Lastly, to curtail the provision of good jobs at Hill Barton and Greendale would be to consciously, selectively and actively undermine our stated (and adopted) Local Plan ambition of delivering one job per new dwelling. This target has not yet been realised, resulting in an unsustainable imbalance between the provision of new homes and new, quality jobs in East Devon.

We cannot continue to overlook this imbalance as our young teens and twenties leave to pursue careers elsewhere and the economically inactive grow as a proportion of our aging population.

We continue to receive inward investment enquires of differing scales and different employment use classes, including from the Dept. for International Trade (DIT, formerly UKTI).

These request a diverse mix of investment formats and much needed employment opportunities from outside the district. However, it is often difficult to identify suitable available employment premises.

Maintaining a diverse mix of development land and premises is key to securing these investments and associated local economic benefit.

The increased density of employment possible on Greendale and Hill Barton sites for B1/B2/B8 use is a clear benefit to our established local supply chains and producers/providers served by these developments.

Finally – I am concerned about an issue of prejudice: I believe that it would be prejudicial to the economic development of East Devon to consider the imposition of Strategy 7 (Greenfield) on Hill Barton on Greendale since the sites are clearly well used industrial sites which are in the right location for the type of businesses they serve.

The two sites have been afforded a specific exception in Policy E7 – ‘Extensions to
Existing Employment Sites’ of our adopted Local Plan (See Pg. 196 “This policy will not apply at Hill Barton and Greendale business Parks”). While for landscape and other reasons we might wish to limit the further expansion of the sites, I believe it would be prejudicial to single out these two sites rather than the 50 other smaller industrial sites for special treatment.

The criteria already laid down within the Local Plan are fully sufficient to control and promote the appropriate development on these sites.


I recommend that the Greendale (GBP) and Hill Barton (HB) employment sites be removed from this Villages Development Plan. I recommend that any application of strategy 7 within the perimeters already agreed should not occur but that other Planning Policies on Industrial Land development should be applied on the basis of equity and equality with other industrial sites in East Devon.

Approval of this draft Villages DPD with GD and HB included and subject to strategy 7 will exacerbate the undersupply of employment premises we are already experiencing through non-delivery of our employment allocations in the adopted Local Plan.”

How do you spot a development site? Look for a road tunnel!

This article contains a useful overview of the Clyst Honiton bypass tunnel, whose lights are being replaced by LEDs.

But the accompanying aerial view of it is the more interesting photo:


It is a “Growth Point” development site


and, obviously, a new road could not interfere with that given its access to vastly more development land a la Lidl and Skypark!

With the airport and other developments in “Greater Exeter”, will Cranbrook become one of the most polluted places in Devon?

More MASSIVE speculative industrial development at Clyst Honiton with benefits to LEP

Owl says: watch the claims of “new” jobs – most companies are relocating from premises just outside the “Growth Point” to take advantage of subsidies such as business rate holidays and are NOT creating “new”jobs at all.

“It appears major development at Clyst Honiton on the edge of Exeter will not cease any time soon, with outline plans in for an 110,000sqm industrial park next to the Lidl depot. The massive development would create between 1,530 and 1,817 new jobs and contribute an extra £90 to £105m to the regional economy. [Owl says: pinch of salt needed here – Skypark made similar claims but has attracted few NEW jobs – mostly only locally relocated ones, see above].

It’s second phase of development at land at Hayes Farm on behalf of Church Commissioners For England. The huge chunk of land is earmarked for more storage and distribution warehouses, offices and business space as part of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point.

It would also need associated parking, servicing, yard areas, landscaping and engineering works including demolition of existing building within the site. The development also sits near the Skypark, a similar development of a similar size [Owl:which is currently still mostly empty after several years of marketing and an abortive attempt to relocate the EDDC HQ from Sidmouth].

At the moment the future occupiers are unknown, but it’s possible a major company could take the entire site. Options for the land include space for 540 car parking spaces on a two unit scheme, and 530 for a multi-unit scheme. [Translation: speculative building].

Alongside news of the latest planning application, buildings at the nearby Skypark development are already taking shape. Built over 20 years, the 110-acre Skypark site will provide 1.4 million sq ft of warehouse, industrial and office space and deliver up to 6,500 new jobs.

When it completes this autumn, this new office building will create 17,142 sq ft of employment space.

The new offices will join the Ambulance Special Operations Centre (ASOC West) and DPD UK’s new 60,000 sq ft distribution centre on site [relocated from nearby Sowton]. They will benefit from the £3.5 million worth of investment in road and services infrastructure at Skypark and the five-acre public realm area, complete with trim trail exercise stations.

Ian Guy, Senior Development Manager for St. Modwen and Devon County Council’s development partner for the £210m Skypark development, said: “These speculative [Owl’s BOLD] offices are going up alongside the new headquarters for Devon and Cornwall Housing [relocating from central Exeter], which is also under construction on site. They represent the first major office development in Exeter for many years and are a strong sign of the improving occupier market in the local area.”


How can you say the market is improving when buildings are speculative, they have no confirmed interest and those which ARE occupied are taken by locally relocated businesses taking advantage of incentives such as no business rates for 5 years to move. And, of course, the Local Enterprise Partnership benefits!

“The current iteration of Enterprise Zones was established by the Government in 2012, as part of their long-term economic plan. They are geographically defined areas, which aim to support growth by encouraging businesses to locate within them, providing a number of incentives including:

Up to 100% business rate discount worth up to £275,000 over 5 years
Simplified local authority planning
Roll out of super-fast Broadband where necessary
For zones in Assisted Areas, 100% enhanced capital allowances (tax relief) to businesses making large investments in plant and machinery.

Any business rates growth generated by the Enterprise Zone (over the next 25 years) is retained by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to reinvest in local economic growth.”

Click to access CS1622%20Enterprise%20Zones.pdf

Skypark: 30,000 sq ft let – only 1,300,000 sq ft or so left to go!

“Exeter-based housing association DCH is set to relocate its city centre headquarters to a new office building at Skypark.

It will be the first office occupier on the new business park near Exeter Airport when staff move into a new 30,000 sq ft office space at the 1.4 million sq ft scheme.

The new offices will join the Ambulance Special Operations Centre (ASOC West) and DPD UK’s new 60,000 sq ft distribution centre on the site.”

30,000 sq ft out of 1.4 million sq ft available!

The (quite small) ambulance centre opened in 2014 and the 60,000 sq ft DPS distribution centre opened in 2015. With DCH in (probably) 2017 this will be 3 tenants in 4 years.

No wonder EDDC mooted having their HQ there – and plans are now being changed to accommodate things such as a nursery and hotel … remember, Diviani promised us all 6,500 new jobs from this development.

And how will people from areas outlying Exeter area find their way to Skypark? At the moment one bus will take most people (tenants, potential tenants and employees) into the central offices in Exeter – getting to Skypark will entail another journey out, with consequent expense.

But selling off the offices in Exeter (for student housing? which already surrounds the bus station) will be very lucrative.

Whatever happened to … Skypark?

Readers will recall when EDDC got so panicky about vast swathes of undeveloped land at Skypark, on the edge of Cranbrook, that it created the seemingly batty idea to relocate its headquarters ther – 10-25 miles away from its voters and practically in the lap of Exeter City Council.

That was fairly quickly knocked on the head (but not without tens of thousands of our pounds being wasted – Owl wonders how much the mostly- vacant site is still costing us).

So far, there seem to be only two businesses at EDDC’s flagship Skypark – DHL couriers and an ambulance call centre.

In July of this year, St Modwyn put in a planning application for reserved matters on the site, including construction of an office block.

The planning application is:

The erection of an office block, landscaping, car parking and associated access and infrastructure (Reserved Matters application in pursuance of outline planning permission ref: 06/3300/MOUT)

Skypark Clyst Honiton Exeter EX5 2D

Planning application describes:

… creche, 150 bed hotel, cafes, leisure and conference facilities, relocated football ground, clubhouse and facilities, strategic open space (including flood attenuation) …

It was originally submitted in July 2016, and further information was submitted 21 September 2016.

Does anyone recall a hotel, conference centre and football pitch in the original plans? Whose pitch is being relocated?

Here is a paper trail:

Surely such a big change, especially after ten years (2006 – 06/3300/MOUT) should merit a new planning application?

Skypark – how’s it getting on?

Not too well if you read this story, where a large company preferred to go to the Hill Barton Business Park, further away from the M5 and a few miles extra driving on the A3052 road towards Sidmouth:


What is it about EDDC-owned Skypark that made Hill Barton more attractive, Owl wonders? Especially as developer St Modwen has gone to (expensive?) lengths to pretty it up, sacrificing 5 acres of rental opportunity land to do so:


St Modwyn (Skypark developer) and its car park inaccessible to – cars!

St Modwen is the developer of Skypark – the developer which says it could take years and years to fully let. It seems time for a bit of a shake-up in its regeneration project planning department …

“A rooftop car park in Farnborough has become the centre of a UK-wide controversy after it was discovered to have no vehicular access.

The 80-space car park, which is atop a gym and shopping complex in the Hampshire town, is no new development however. It has been empty since the building was completed five years ago, despite promises back then to residents of an adjacent apartment block for whom the parking was destined that it would be useable within weeks.

While the block’s developer, St Modwen, denies that the car park is a secret, it has remained relatively under the radar until recently, when plans to redo two town centre car parks highlighted the problem of parking in the area.

Local councillor Gareth Lyon told The Independent: “We have a massive problem with car parking in Farnborough. To have had this huge car park lying empty defies belief. It is ridiculous.”

The official reason for the lack of access ramp is the plan for a bridge to link it to another building on which construction has not yet begun.

St Modwen, which describes itself as the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, is spearheading an £80m revival of Farnborough’s town centre, under which the complex falls. A spokesperson for the company refused to comment on when the development would be completed and vehicle access to the car park built.”

Source: AOL news

Skypark jobs: now you see them, now you don’t …

July 2014: new parcel depot at Skypark will create
new jobs:

November 2015: new parcel depot at Skypark has created
new jobs:

Revised EU tendering thresholds

For those who understand these things (the figures at which tendering must follow strict rules on open access for contracts and contractors). This is the rule that EDDC fell foul of when attempting to relocate to Skypark.

“The European Commission has announced revised procurement thresholds that will apply from 1 January 2016.
The new thresholds, which will be in place for two years, are:

Supplies and services (central government and Schedule 1): €135,000 (£106,047);

Supplies and services (sub-central government): €209,000 (£164,176);

Works contracts: €5,225,000 (£4,104,394).

The threshold for social and other specific services (the light touch regime) will stay at €750,000 but currency changes mean this is worth £589,148.

The threshold for public concessions contracts is €5,225,000 (£4,104,394). In this respect Mills & Reeve’s Procurement Portal noted how the new Concessions Directive has not yet been implemented in the UK, although the draft Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016 have been published and are due to come into force on 18 April 2016.”


Cranbrook to become a ” small enterprise town” – whatever that means!

Perhaps it just means lots of self-employed people with zero-hours staff. Anyone else find this jargon for “big subsidies to business to try to kick-start failed projects” annoying? It hasn’t worked, so pump more taxpayer money into it. AND the number of jobs to be created (Owl seems to remember it was 6,000 at Skypark alone a while back):

Councillor Paul Diviani, leader of East Devon District Council, said:

“We are over the moon to be awarded Enterprise Zone status as important recognition of East Devon’s strategy for growth with the potential to provide 10,000 jobs and 18,000 homes in East Devon.”

Again, anyone remember the “one new job to be created to one new home” mantra – now, with more money it’s nearer half a job per house! Try paying the mortgage on that small enterprisers!

And the new zone:

“Hopes of an influx of new businesses to East Devon have been raised after a joint bid with Sedgemoor for Enterprise Zone status was approved.

The bid, which was given the green light by Chancellor George Osborne as part of the Autumn Statement, comprises five sites across two locations in the Heart of the South West (HotSW), four in East Devon and one near Bridgwater in Sedgemoor.

The Enterprise Zone combines the South West’s largest brownfield site at Huntspill Energy Park near Bridgwater with the innovation led offer of Exeter Science Park, the low carbon credentials of SkyPark, expansion space for Exeter Airport business park and the development of the new community of Cranbrook as a small enterprise town, all linked by the M5 corridor.

Benefits of enterprise zones include the local area being able to keep 100 per cent of the growth in business rates over 25 years, to re-invest in infrastructure and growth generating projects.” …


Skypark – reality or illusion?

Is it just Owl, or is the picture accompanying this puff job on Skypark how it currently looks or how developers hope it will look? An awful lot of stuff must have happened in the last six months if it looks like this now. Can anyone enlighten Owl – perhaps by taking a turn along the new road?


Did Claire Wright have a crystal ball when speaking about Cranbrook and the ‘Growth Point’ in 2012?

Here are a few comments she made at that time when she and other councillors visited the Growth Point on 11 May 2012l:

“I asked how many companies had bought space at Skypark.

Answer: None.

And Skypark has been marketed for well over a year.

I remembered the stark warning given by consultants, Roger Tym, who state on page 75 of their Housing and Employment Study 2011, that marketing for a 1.4m sq ft scheme at Langage Business Park in Plymouth has progressed over the last five years without success of obtaining a single occupier.

It is the challenge of dealing with large strategic allocations, they say.

Hopefully, Skypark will achieve full occupation in time. But it does rather put the challenge of filling the many and large industrial allocations for the rest of East Devon, into perspective.

If Skypark, in a hugely convenient location is not proving a goer (so far), what hope is there for almost 50 acres of industrial land allocated for Honiton?”

Recall that Asda pulled out of Heathpark and now EDDC is plugging the gap by moving there itself at enormous cost. Skypark is still mostly empty with its owners having gone on record to say it could take many, many years to rent it all out.

And, having just returned from a visit to Cranbrook on the same day, she wrote:

When I got home I couldn’t help wondering whether:

– the Skypark would ever get off the ground, or instead would mirror the non-progress of Langage Business Park in Plymouth

– the Science Park would ever consist of any more than Exeter University’s Innovation Centre

– If the inhabitants of Rockbeare would be swallowed up by Cranbrook, following a highly dubious decision, backed by the majority of the Local Plan Panel (not me) and Development Management Committee, to allocate south of the A30 for future expansion, despite a promise that this would not happen

– the public would ever consider the millions of pounds of public money ploughed into ‘growth point’ and Cranbrook, as money well spent.

– What sort of town Cranbrook would become. How big would it grow? Would I enjoy visiting it?

I have no answers to these questions yet. No one does. Only time will tell.

I have to say I am already rather tired of the pictures in local papers of grinning councillor and developer faces at turf cuts, of the continual talk of ‘great excitement’ and the oft heard promises of thousands of jobs and creation of wealth, none of which has materialised yet… and may not ever do so.

That said, I genuinely hope that ‘growth point’ and Cranbrook are huge successes.

Mainly because any other outcome would be a staggering waste of public funding, not to mention an irreplaceable loss of beautiful countryside.”


Anyone up for another Freedom of Information fight?

The post below, with its mention of Skypark, got the Owl thinking… never a good thing.

Is it time someone asked for the information about WHY EDDC chose Skypark as the site for its new HQ and then returned to its original decision? It won’t come voluntarily though, Owl thinks.

There can’t be much “commercial sensitivity” now that it has fallen through and what little there is (if any) should be easily redacted.

A few questions spring to mind – maybe you have more.

Who suggested Skypark?
What was the financial thinking behind it?
What interventions did other partners (DCC, St Modwyn) institute?
What correspondence did EDDC enter into and with whom about its decision to change to Skypark?
Why did they pull out so suddenly?
Why did the plans fall foul of EU directives, who noticed that and when?
How much was spent on the abortive project?

Owl thinks we should be told.

If only …

Exeter City Council is installing solar panels on its south-facing car park roofs and other buildings, including the museum:


Imagine if there had been solar panels on the Knowle and other EDDC buildings for the last few years perhaps they could have put the income towards offsetting maintenance costs … and no need to move … no, of course it would never have happened! The siren sounds of Skypark and Honiton called instead.

Skypark developers not happy about more employment land at Cranbrook – and they are none too keen on Gypsies and Travellers

Some snippets from their objection:

“Build out Rate

The Skypark site was granted outline consent in 2010 for a mix of B1 and B2 uses (06/3300/MOUT) with a significant number of conditions and major package of Section 106 obligations. The reality therefore is that it has taken 5 years to secure the first B1/2 occupier on the site suggesting the site will take at least 25 years to complete

Over Supply and Viability:

Should EDDC propose further employment land this will lead to an overprovision of space in the market. In simple terms, occupiers will go to alternative new greenfield sites instead of locating to Skypark. A key message that SDP wishes to deliver is the fundamental risk that over supply has on the market. Quite simply an over provision of sites will suppress values which in turn renders sites unviable and therefore undeliverable. This will stagnate the delivery of employment floorspace and lead to the loss of occupiers from the
District as sites will not be prepared, or speculative accommodation built. The addition of further land at Cranbrook will therefore further undermine delivery potential and the quality and sustainability of buildings. There is already significant employment land immediately available within the Cranbrook area. It has been demonstrated in several studies commissioned by EDDC that there is a substantial supply of employment land available during the plan period and beyond and therefore there is absolutely no need for further employment land for demand that could be met in a sustainable environment at Skypark.

Gypsy and Traveller Provision:

We note reference is made to provision of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation within the DPD list of issues. SDP is concerned that if allocation of such provision within Cranbrook is explored then this would need to be considered carefully in terms gva.co.uk of impact on the commercial attractiveness of Skypark given the Council’s own objective of it being a high quality employment development.

Skypark delivery company will add only 127 new jobs

The rest are relocating from the current Sowton depot:


Not quite the thousands of jobs Skypark was expected to attract. The ambulance centre also relocated which just leaves the E.ON energy centre as the only new employment on the site.

One can see why EDDC were so keen to help the developers of the part-EDDC owned site by moving there. Indeed if the supermarket at Honiton had not been cancelled no doubt they would have been making their plans for a move to the edge of Exeter. So convenient for the Rugby World Cup!

Anyone notice something about this press release for Exeter Science Park?


Answer: it is a non-story! At no point in the puff job is a potential tenant named!

EDDC us a partner in this project, along with Skypark, once touted as a suitable place for its new HQ and still with the majority of its space empty.

It seems all is not well at these so-called high-tech industrial areas on the outskirts of Exeter and Cranbrook. Yet thousands of houses are already being built for people supposed to be working in them. Recipe for disaster?

But still, a good exercise in making no news good news!

Perhaps our councillors should be scrutinising these projects and how much it is costing us to keep these sites ticking over and publicised.

Exeter Science Park was “topped out” in August 2014:


Skypark was supposed to provide 7,000 new jobs. Only three companies currently operate on the site: the E.ON energy centre for Cranbrook, ampn ambulance call centre and a locally-relocated parcel delivery service. It has proved impossible to find on the net just how many NEW jobs these three organisations have provided at Skypark.