Town shortlisted as businessman is elected to LEP

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A SCABOROUGH business man has been selected to sit on the region’s new Local Enterprise Partnership board as the town is shortlisted to become an ‘enterprise zone’.

Rob Miller, managing director of specialist bus builders Bluebird Vehicles, is one of five private sector board members sitting on the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The partnerships were set up by the Government to replace Regional Development Agencies such as Yorkshire Forward.

They are aimed at delivering economic development planning through a local authority and business partnership.

The York and North Yorkshire partnership, which covers the Scarborough area, has revealed Mr Miller and the other private sector board members will sit alongside the leaders of the six council areas covered by the partnership, including Scarborough Council’s Tom Fox.

Mr Miller said: “Local Enterprise Partnerships offer business the chance to influence business strategy, including investment and finance, by working with local authorities.

“I am glad that I can sit on the board and represent the view of the Scarborough business community, speaking up particularly for engineering and manufacturing businesses in the town.

“I am looking forward to working towards the greater good of the whole area, and it is a really good opportunity to try and help make a difference.”

One of the first tasks for the board, when they first meet on June 3, will be to select an ‘enterprise zone’ within the region.

Enterprise zones are a Government initiative that allow local enterprise partnerships to identify areas that can enjoy a range of benefits including business rate discounts, a simpler planning region and access to super fast broadband.

Ministers have indicated that initially there will be only one enterprise zone per LEP area although partnerships can suggest splitting the zone into smaller parcels of land.

Scarborough’s Business Park has made it on to the enterprise zone shortlist, along with York Central, The Heslington East site at the University of York, and Selby by-pass.

Barry Dodd, chairman of the York and North Yorkshire partnership said: “I was totally bowled over by the level of interest and the quality of the people who put themselves forward. As a result, we have been able to put together a very interesting team which reflects the diversity of our area. We now have in place a board which not only boasts a high proportion of wealth creators but also includes a charity and covers the full range of business type, from large corporate to very small limited company.

“Our only real gap is tourism and we will be seeking board permission at our first meeting to co-opt a board member from a front line operating company within the tourism industry.”

• For more local business news turn to pages 18 & 19.