A small group of Eastern Region members visited Babergh & Mid-Suffolk District Council offices in Ipswich to hear an interesting presentation about Suffolk's Food Enterprise Zones, given by Dawn Easter, Economic Development Officer.
Dawn began her presentation by explaining the purpose of Food Enterprise Zones (FEZ) to unlock the potential of local food and farming businesses, and the role of local councils in encouraging investment and speeding up development. There are 17 FEZs across England, two of which are in Suffolk, of varying sizes ranging from undeveloped greenfield sites to Artisan Food Villages.
Dawn pointed out the importance of food, drink and agriculture to the region’s economy, giving numerous examples of businesses in the sector that had developed here, then went on to describe the two FEZs in more detail. The Orwell Fez is already up and running and includes Jimmy’s Farm (of TV fame) and the Suffolk Food Hall. The Stowmarket FEZ, on the other hand, has only recently been acquired as a greenfield site and Babergh & Mid-Suffolk District Council are keen to attract new start-up businesses and others looking to expand.
To this end, Dawn has given permission for her presentation, which concludes with contact details for parties interested in FEZs to obtain further information, to be posted on the IFST website.
The council is also keen to attract tech companies to provide services to the zone, accommodated in a proposed Technology Hub planned for the site.