Former Pfizer facility to become enterprise zone

THE research and development facility that was abandoned by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will be given enterprise zone status today, in a bid to lure a new high tech firm to the area by offering tax breaks and relaxed planning rules.

Pfizer’s Kent base, which has been renamed Discovery Park, was put on the market in June, after the American firm decided to close the facility and make most of its 2,400 staff redundant.

Now the government is hoping it can convince a new company to buy the research laboratories and production facilities by offering zero business rates for five years, worth up to £275,000.

As an enterprise zone, the science park will also benefit from higher capital allowances, super-fast broadband, and simplified planning rules.

Pfizer’s decision to close the research facility, announced in February, came as a huge blow to the government, which had pledged to rebalance the economy away from the City to high tech manufacturing and engineering.

Meanwhile, the government will announce 10 new enterprise zones alongside the Discovery Park, in addition to the 11 it announced at the Budget in March.

George Osborne, the chancellor, is expected to say: “It is time for us to help every part of the country to grow and realise its potential.”