The Commercial Case
Demonstrating that the intervention is viable
The Freeport’s tax/customs sites are distinct with respect to land ownership and planning status but the FBC described clear strategies for activation and delivery to ensure that they could maximise the levers afforded by Freeport status to ensure that the objectives of the PASD Freeport are realised. The Commercial Case described the arrangements in place to deliver the sites which were expected to be co-ordinated by the Freeport Delivery Team, comprising representatives from Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council and South Hams District Council, in direct collaboration with the responsible planning and transport authorities, landowners, tenants / occupiers and key stakeholders.
Seed capital projects were expected to be delivered by a mixture of public and private sector bodies with the Local Authorities ultimately being responsible for contract management. Whether delivered by the public or private sector, commitments were made to making effective use of procurement processes to:
- Deliver Value for Money (VfM);
- Ensure that regulatory standards are met,
- Deliver wider economic, social and environmental benefits; and,
- Contribute to low carbon objectives and equality.
The Commercial Case was underpinned by a commitment to implementing robust governance structures which included landowner representation, backed up by a Gateway Policy and landowner agreements, thus enabling Freeport benefits to be realised. The Gateway Policy is expected to 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. 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 our target sectors. It aims to encourage international investment and UK businesses that have International Market opportunity and expansion plans to meet our Freeport vision and objectives, and also to minimise displacement of existing economic activity.
In order to make a compelling case for Freeport designation, the business case that was submitted to Government followed a prescribed template that was by necessity very detailed and also contained a range of commercially sensitive information. These summaries provide a more digestible overview of the business case with commercially sensitive information removed. It should also be noted that the material presented, including all cost assumptions, was accurate at the time of submission (April 2022). The summaries have not been updated since then. We have moved forward on a number of core activities through our mobilisation phase which are not reflected in the summaries, with the Freeport Company and associated board structures having now been established. This has enabled us to start building on the hard work that went into securing Freeport designation, working with our partners to leverage exciting new opportunities for the area.