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Supporting sustainable business growth is the focus behind the Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2018-21 put forward by Uttlesford District Council.

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The document will act as a blueprint in guiding economic activity in the District over the coming years. It seeks to make the most of the opportunities and benefits of local economic growth whilst protecting the special heritage and character of the district.

To achieve this, the strategy will focus on four priority themes:

  • Supporting the expansion and promotion of key sectors including life sciences, research and innovation, the rural economy and the visitor economy
  • Developing local and regional opportunities that arise from the location of Stansted Airport
  • Establishing local economic strategies for each of the three proposed garden communities, if these are approved within the Local Plan
  • Supporting the delivery of high levels of connectivity including superfast broadband

The document identifies what sustainable growth will look like in these areas, for example by maximising the potential opportunities that superfast broadband brings to local businesses, helping them to be more competitive and to grow. The council has recognised the importance of connectivity in the District and has committed to invest £500,000 towards improving broadband infrastructure through the Superfast Essex programme.

The strategy also builds on the day-to-day work of the council in supporting sustainable business growth, such as providing support and advice for start-ups, helping businesses to expand or relocate to the District, signposting to useful grants and services, and supporting the Town Teams to ensure the town centres remain thriving retail and business destinations.

Cllr Howard Ryles, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: "The next few years will present exciting opportunities for Uttlesford and it is important we take advantage of the benefits for our residents and businesses.

"Through the strategy, we are looking to be ambitious in growing areas where there is real potential and targeting our resources accordingly."

The Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2018-21 will be considered for adoption by the Cabinet on Thursday (15 February). The document is available to view on the council website here.

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12 February 2018