Freeport East has received final Government approvals allowing it to progress into the delivery phase.
The development of the Freeport, which is expected to create up to 13,500 new jobs, will be boosted by £25 million in Government funding to support infrastructure enhancement.
Freeport East covers an area within roughly 45 kilometres of the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich, stretching from Woodbridge in the north, to Stowmarket in the west and Jaywick Sands in the south; Colchester and Ipswich are both key parts of the Freeport economic area.
The Freeport has three main development sites at the Port of Felixstowe, Harwich International Port and Gateway 14 near Stowmarket.
Freeport East is set to be able to collect and deploy 100 per cent of the business rates growth generated on these sites for the next 25 years, providing millions of pounds of financial backing to invest in regeneration, skills and innovation across the local area.
Work has already commenced on the Gateway 14 development and there are ambitious plans to create a green energy hub in Harwich to serve sectors including offshore wind.
All the developments have an emphasis on supporting innovation, skills development and net zero as well as acting as anchors for wider economic impact.
The Universities of Essex and Suffolk as well as a range of other partners in the region have committed to working with Freeport East and its businesses to accelerate innovation across operations, products and services. They will also help unlock further investment in research and development to boost the development of the area’s knowledge-based economy.
Following the news, Steve Beel, chief executive of Freeport East, said: “This is a major milestone for Freeport East and the result of a great deal of hard work from all our partner organisations. Freeport East is a locally led initiative but has global connections and ambition.
“Bringing together key stakeholders including local government, the private sector, and educational institutions we will attract new investment to create a hotbed for trade, innovation and green energy driving growth in both the regional and national economies.
“We will look to partner and collaborate with all organisations interested in the economic success of the region and encourage parties to get in touch with us directly.”
Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison said: “Today is a historic day for many port towns and coastal communities across East Anglia, as Freeport East takes flight.
“This Freeport is going to give local economies a massive boost, unlock a new state of the art business space and create tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs.
“We are maximising the opportunities of leaving the European Union to drive growth and throw our doors open to trade with the world.”
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