THOUSANDS of new jobs look set to be created in the region after an enterprise zone in Deeside was given the go-ahead.

Edwina Hart, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, last night announced that Deeside is one of the five preferred locations for new enterprise zones in Wales.

The zone is expected to cover the Northern Gateway site in Sealand and the focus will be on advanced manufacturing, with the zone to share in £10 million of UK Government funding.

Politicians and community leaders are delighted by the developments, predicting a welcome increase in trade for the region and a major employment boost.

Cllr Matt Wright, Flintshire Council’s executive member for regeneration, said he was “over the moon” to hear the news and anticipates a major economic boost for the region.

He said: “I am confident this will establish at least 5,000 jobs and that will benefit 5,000 families.

“I am absolutely delighted. This is one of those once in a lifetime things that will be a massive boost for the area.

“This is certainly not just about Deeside. I think it is fantastic news for Flintshire and North East Wales as a whole.”

Cllr Wright said a significant amount of work had gone into securing the coveted status.

He added: “People won’t believe the amount of work that has gone into making this possible.

“This has received cross-party support and I am delighted all the work has paid off for the sake of the people of the area.”

In her letter to all Assembly members about the reasons for the preferred locations, Ms Hart wrote she was aware of concerns about “cross border displacement and increased competition” in North East Wales.

Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant hailed the news as “fantastic” for Deeside and North East Wales.

He said: “The Northern Gateway site has the potential to create up to 5,000 jobs.

“I am grateful that the Minister has recognised the importance and potential of
Deeside to create employment in the advanced manufacturing sector.

“This announcement will enable more people to work locally and bring new opportunities for businesses, both local and national.”

Councillors in Deeside are also delighted at the news.

Connah’s Quay Labour Cllr Aaron Shotton said: “It is vitally important news, manufacturing is the lifeblood of Deeside and Flintshire is the leading area in the UK in terms of manufacturing.

“The creation of an enterprise zone should give the area a massive boost.”

Enterprise zones are a government initiative to boost economic growth by giving cheaper business rates, superfast broadband and lower levels of planning control.

Ms Hart said this is a first stage announcement and the developments are subject to clarification by the UK Government.

The other four preferred zones in Wales are in the Cardiff Central Business District (financial services), Anglesey (energy), Ebbw Vale (engineering) and St Athan (aerospace).