Enterprise zones 'struggling to generate jobs'

Reports that Britain's new wave of enterprise zones are 'struggling to generate jobs' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that the government has said that the 24 zones would create 30,000 jobs by 2015. However, it says, to date, they have created just over 1,700. According to the paper, the Leeds City Region, one of the largest local enterprise partnerships, "blamed insufficient incentives for the zones and a lack of general business confidence as it downgraded forecasts for its Aire Valley zone from about 700 jobs by 2015 to 200". The paper quotes David Frost, the chief executive of the LEP Network, an umbrella group which represents England's 39 business-led LEPs, saying the government could regret the "bold 30,000 jobs pledge".

The government faces a "major Commons rebellion" this week over the its plans to ease restrictions on the size of home extensions in a bid to boost economic growth, the Telegraph reports. The paper says that more than 20 Conservative and Liberal Democrats, led by Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park, will on Tuesday vote against the policy, which is part of the Coalition’s Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

The Guardian reports that ministers have "chosen to ignore warnings that residential and commercial property should not be built too close to the UK’s nuclear plants". According to the paper, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the government rejected advice from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) regarding lessons learned following Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. The paper says that documents reveal that the ONR signalled "increasing alarm" as its demands were ignored as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was being drawn up. The regulator had demanded that constraints should be incorporated into the NPPF to block developments near nuclear power plants, but the paper says the NPPF instead states only that planning should be "based on the location of major hazards" and that "local planning authorities should consult the appropriate bodies when planning".

The Observer reports
on concerns that the "mega-rich" are "finding ways around planning laws" to build luxury homes along a lane bordering London’s Hampstead Heath. According to the paper, "a handful of putative but spectacular developments stretching along the lane, which would not look out of place on television's Grand Designs, are causing deep disquiet". The paper says that "at the heart of the row is a wider concern: the power of the ultra-wealthy to circumvent planning laws, even if it means spending millions on buying crumbling properties only to knock them down".

The world-famous skatepark under London’s Southbank Centre is under threat from the redevelopment of the arts facility, the Guardian reports. According to the paper, the park is threatened by "plans to refurbish the ageing infrastructure of the Festival Wing, home to the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery". The proposals for the Festival Wing "would see the undercroft replaced by retail units, which are expected to pay for a third of the financing for the refurbishment", the paper reports.




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