The district council is investing to ensure Sleaford and North Kesteven is open for business in 2018 and beyond.
The council has just bought 37 acres at Sleaford Enterprise Park alongside the A17 to break a current ‘stalemate’ in which, it believed, private developers were failing to maximise the land’s potential.
NKDC chief executive Ian Fytche explained: “We have bought the land to speed up job creation and facilitate business.”
It is one of a range of projects in a new strategy by the council to take direct action to deliver new opportunities and unlock potential, while bringing in income that ultimately supports the council’s broader operations.
Through the same mechanism, it is investing in the new depot and workshop units in Metheringham, and has already developed Teal Park at North Hykeham.
Sleaford Moor is seen as a natural extension to the existing industrial parks off East Road.
The site opens up significant growth potential, not least within key manufacturing and food sectors as there is currently not a single square metre of unused food grade premises within the entire Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise partnership area.
Detailed masterplanning for layout and utilities should be completed by the autumn, but it may be that the first businesses are not operating on site until 2021.
While the ultimate end uses dictate the eventual jobs potential, it is estimated up to 500 jobs could be created within 350,000 sq ft of premises and 250 existing jobs in key sectors secured medium-term.
Council Leader Coun Richard Wright said this intervention by the council was critical: “There was a risk of this site remaining banked – stifling growth and restricting freehold possibilities – probably for decades to come.
“There is significant pent-up demand locally for new premises and without it significant employers may have moved away. By acting decisively in the way we have we are able to support business growth and jobs in North Kesteven, drive investment and develop a more balanced, higher wage economy with a wider range of opportunities.”
Once complete, it will represent investment of more than £5m in leasehold and freehold premises for which there is already interest.