Four East Midlands Manufacturing Zones created to boost food and drink sector

The space industry in the East Midlands will also benefit from reduced planning restrictions and a share of £500,000 funding.

The East Midlands has a strong food and drink sector. It's home to Melton Mowbray, which is known as the "rural capital of food." - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
The East Midlands has a strong food and drink sector. It’s home to Melton Mowbray, which is often called the “rural capital of food.” – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has announced four new manufacturing zones will be created in the East Midlands.

The four projects, which are part of the government’s ‘Midlands Engine Strategy,‘ aim to boost the region’s food and drink, and space sectors by reducing planning restrictions and investing in infrastructure.

Among the schemes announced are a £220,000 investment in the Northern Derbyshire Manufacturing Zone. It is hoped the investment will boost the area’s association with the development and maintenance of HS2. The local authority areas of Bolsover, North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield will receive the investment.

The Melton Mowbray and Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership Manufacturing Zones will be given £230,000 between them to develop their food and drink sectors. The food sector in Greater Lincolnshire is valued at £3.5bn. Melton Mowbray is famous for its pork pies and is nicknamed the “rural capital of food.”

Part of Melton Mowbray’s grant will go towards a feasibility study on developing a local Food Enterprise Centre (FEC) to develop local skills in food science and technology as well as catering.

The town’s council leader, Councillor Joe Orson, said: “The award of £75,000 grant funding is great news at a very exciting time for Melton. “This project…highlights Melton Borough Council’s intent and commitment to create the conditions for growth and prosperity within our local economy and provide opportunity for our residents and businesses.

“If successful, the delivery of these 82 hectares of employment sites could potentially generate thousands of jobs and support innovation in the food sector.”

Aside from the food and drink sector, government funding will also go towards the UK space sector. The University of Leicester has been awarded £50,000 for the design of the Low-Cost Access to Space facility, part of the university’s planned Space Park Leicester. The university is already a partner with the National Space Centre in a space research programme.

James Brokenshire will visit the National Space Centre today as part of a series of visits surrounding the announcement. He will make trips to East Midlands Airport and Castle Donington-based Norton Motorcycles.

The manufacturing zones will form part of the government’s Midlands Engine strategy, which aims to grow the economy in the region. The region is home to about 27,500 businesses in the manufacturing sector with almost 250,000 people working in advanced manufacturing.


Reporting by Harry Wise