Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone will be declared open for business on Friday at a special launch event at the 70-hectare site.

More than 200 businesses from across Bristol and the South West will gather in the new big top event space next to the station to hear the progress so far on the sites transformation. This will be followed later in the day with an event for the public from 4.30pm.

Local Enterprise Partnership Chair Colin Skellett said: This is a significant day for us all and marks the beginning of a process in which the Enterprise Zone and the five Enterprise Areas will act as a catalyst for economic development which will benefit the whole of the West of England.

Bristol City Council Leader Barbara Janke said: Bristol has a huge amount to offer potential businesses wishing to invest. We are one of the most business friendly, green cities in Europe with a track record of supporting innovative companies to thrive and grow. With its simplified planning and business rate discounts, the Enterprise Zone offers an exciting investment opportunity at the heart of the city and the South West region.

Recent developments and plans in the pipeline include:

  • Investment of around £5m by the Homes and Communities Agency for the acquisition of Brunels Old Station (to be owned by the City Council) and the Pest Control Depot in nearby Cattle Market Road, which will be used to improve access onto the Diesel Depot site and connect it to the rest of the Enterprise Zone.
  • Feasibility study and market testing for a proposed arena and conference centre on the Diesel Depot site.
  • Work to prepare two HCA-owned sites, Plot 3 and the Diesel Depot, for temporary use by a range of creative projects and organisations. The Creative Common project creates an exhibition and performance space, supported by a restaurant and commercial units on the former carpark at Plot 3. It is a collaboration led by Circomedia (an internationally-respected centre of excellence for circus and theatre training), events and workshop specialist Coexist and Invisible Circus.
  • The awarding of up to £12m from the £100m Super-Connected Cities project, which aims to introduce superfast broadband into 10 cities and will place the Enterprise Zone at the centre of a high-speed digital network. In the meantime to ensure Wi-Fi connectivity on the site, the council will extend its Bnet to provide initial converage to Temple Meads Station, Plots 3 and 6, incuding the new Big Top event space
  • The development of the proposal for the Creative Harbour Centre which will house business incubators for start-up companies as well as collaboration and teaching space, an innovation showcase and the new shared inward investment service. This builds on the successful SETsquared incubator hosted by University of Bristol, which accelerates high-tech, high-growth businesses, and will bring together teaching, enterprise and research to exploit the fusion between technology, creative and low carbon innovation and hence stimulate significant growth in the West of England. The project is supported by the University of Bristol, University of the West of England, the LEP, IBM, Watershed and ST Microelectronics.
  • Plans by the City of Bristol College to create a digital and media hub in the Enterprise Zone.
  • Ongoing talks with the BBC for a potential move of its Bristol base at Whiteladies Road to the Enterprise Zone
  • The relocation of creative agency Creston into offices within the Zone, the first company to move onto the Enterprise Zone since it was established.
  • Refurbishment works started on Collett House next to the station to turn it into  a creative and digital campus called Temple Studios by developers TCN UK. This follows the first phase of their Temple Gate project which started with Bristol and Exeter House.
  • Network Rail, together with its partners, is developing a strategy to transform Bristol Temple Meads into a world-class rail gateway for the city by the end of the decade. This proposal aims to expand the station area and increase train services to cater for the growing rail demand in Bristol, whilst providing a robust rail link – with excellent connectivity to London, the South West, Wales and the North
  • A bid to the £50m-a-year Growth Innovation Fund to help businesses develop the skills they need to drive growth. This is intended to develop the training and development proposition to run alongside the business development in the Zone.
  • A Revolving Infrastructure Fund of £50 million to provide essential infrastructure at key sites across the LEP area including the Enterprise Zone

New businesses moving to the Enterprise Zone, or existing businesses already located there who can show substantial growth, will be able to claim a business rate discount of up to £60,000 per annum for 5 years. This is in line with other Enterprise Zones around the country. They will also benefit from more flexible planning rules and high-speed broadband connectivity.

Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone covers around 70 ha (173 acres) of land around Temple Meads station in the centre of Bristol. It was announced by the Government in the March 2011 Budget as one of a first wave of 11 Enterprise Zones, designed to boost local growth and create more than 30,000 new jobs by 2015.

Initial estimates suggest that more than 250 businesses could be accommodated in the Enterprise Zone, leading to the creation of almost 17,000 new jobs over a 25 year period. These projected jobs would be delivered alongside more than 240,000 sq m of new or refurbished space, featuring offices, research and development space, new homes and retail units.