Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Gateway Policy
The PASD Freeport recognises the importance of maximising additionality to the UK economy by attracting new high value investment within target sectors to the Freeport. These sectors are advanced manufacturing and engineering with a particular focus on marine, defence and space including low carbon applications.
This will be realised through establishing robust governance and management structures which align prospective tax and custom site tenants with the delivery of the identified Freeport benefits and objectives. The adoption of a Gateway Policy mitigates against risks to delivery of these benefits by providing clarity on the eligibility of prospective businesses and/or organisations into the Freeport sites.
The Gateway Policy will form the basis for agreements between the PASD Freeport Board, private sector landowners and tenants who will ultimately be the beneficiaries of the tax site levers including Business Rates Retention (BRR). Compliance with the gateway policy will be the trigger for the consideration of discretionary Business Rates Relief by the relevant Council.
The purpose of the Gateway Policy will be to ensure that the PASD Freeport supports the clustering of businesses with a focus on the target sectors set out above. The core objective of the Gateway Policy will be to encourage international investment to meet our Freeport vision and objectives, and also to minimise displacement of existing economic activity. The aim is to attract new businesses to the Freeport and the wider region, as well as existing businesses that intend to expand their operations and are likely to benefit from the Freeport levers and further to generate supply chain opportunities across the Freeport Outer Boundary, Travel To Work Area (and indeed across the wider South West).
Whilst tax and customs benefits will be applied within the Freeport boundary under primary legislation, the consideration of business rates relief will remain discretionary with the local authorities, subject to subsidy control, and aligned to the Freeport vision.
Landowners will align their development proposals to the Freeport vision for a period of a minimum of 5 years, including the key points around displacement.
With respect to UK companies and/or organisations looking to locate within the Freeport, the following criteria will be applied to the decision-making process:
- Businesses will need to clearly demonstrate how the proposed Freeport operations fall into one or more of the sectors above;
- Businesses will need to clearly demonstrate how the proposed Freeport operations represent incremental investment and employment additional to existing operations;
- Local businesses will not be precluded from applying to locate within the PASD Freezone but will need to show a significant uplift in new economic activity and growth to demonstrate genuine additionality that cannot be accommodated at their existing location; and,
- If a business is currently located within PASD and is a relocation for purposes of growth and/or expansion then evidence will be required to prove that no appropriate expansion space was available at the current site.
- Landowners can discuss other uses with the local authority, should they be able to demonstrate they have made best endeavours to comply with the Gateway Policy requirements, without a pipeline of suitable prospects coming forward.
The Gateway Policy forms the basis of agreements between the PASD Freeport Board, private sector landowners and tenants who will ultimately be the beneficiaries of the tax site levers including Business Rates Retention (BRR).
Compliance with the gateway policy will be the trigger for the consideration of discretionary Business Rates Relief by the relevant Council. The Freeport Company board is made up of the Local Authorities and private sector Freeport Directors. The relevant Business Rates Local Authority therefore has to be in agreement with the decision.
Process to be followed if Gateway Policy Eligibility Criteria are not met:
The steps below outline the process a landowner should undertake if they disagree with a Freeport Company decision to not allow a particular occupier on to the Freeport, on the basis it does not meet the Gateway Policy eligibility criteria.
It has been assumed that non-contentious occupants would be agreed by the Freeport Company staff and the relevant Council, with any novel or contentious occupants referred to the Freeport Company Board. If the Board does not then approve, the following appeals process would be utilised if the landowner wishes to challenge the decision: