LOCAL jobs for local people will be the emphasis of employment created by Deeside Enterprise Zone which was given the go-ahead this week.

Business leaders from the county met yesterday to celebrate the announcement by Edwina Hart, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Business, Enterprise,
Technology and Science, on Monday evening that Deeside would be one of the five preferred locations for new enterprise zones in Wales.

Azkhar Sheibani, chairman of Deeside Business Forum and chief executive officer of Comtek, said: “This is fantastic because we were under threat from enterprise zones in Wigan and Warrington.”

The news means more than 5,000 new jobs are set to be created in the region. The focus will be on advanced manufacturing, with the zone to share in £10 million of UK Government funding.

Dave Heggarty, chief regeneration officer for Flintshire Council, said for every one job created within advanced manufacturing another 12 are created along the supply chain.

“We’re very, very good at advanced manufacturing in this area. It’s a catalyst for bringing about regeneration in the area,” he said. “We’ve got people in this area in Shotton and Connah’s Quay still on benefits. We don’t want to see a huge amount of people commuting long distances to take these jobs, we want them to be for local people.”

Those involved in the plans for the enterprise zone said the momentum created by the announcement needs to be kept going if it is to be a success.

Cllr Matt Wright, Flintshire Council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “What we must learn from is the mistakes of previous enterprise zones. In the ‘80s when enterprise zones came to an end the businesses left.”

Mr Sheibani added: “There is a lot of hard work in front of us. We need to sell this region. This enterprise zone is a way to publicise Deeside.”

The zone is expected to cover the Northern Gateway site in Sealand, but Cllr Wright said it could include wider areas of Deeside as well.