Around 140 high quality jobs in marine, defence and space sector are on the cards at the largest tax site in Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, thanks to a business case which has just been signed off.

Work on a series of industrial units is set to get underway early next year at Beaumont Way in Langage now that a decision has been signed by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Tudor Evans to approve the business case and allocate funding to enable construction to start.

The multi-million pound scheme is subject to successfully securing £4 million from the UK Government as part of the Plymouth and South Freeport Seed Capital funding and an application has been submitted.

Planning permission was granted last year to develop a Plymouth City Council-owned plot for 4,615 sq m (50,000 sq ft) of sustainable, high quality, employment space for medium and large sized businesses to occupy.

Once complete, it is expected to support around 138 full time jobs, not to mention construction and supply chain employment during the initial build period.

Council leader Tudor Evans said: “This is big stuff. This is 1.6 hectares – or four acres – that can we can now get started on.

“We are tackling the shortage of high quality, modern employment space facilities, by taking on development ourselves. We have carried out a number of direct development projects in the city which have all performed really well and are all fully let. Quite simply, if we build them, they will come.”

The Langage Tax Site is the largest of the three tax sites for the Freeport and is strategically significant as it provides the space and opportunities to support sector growth plans and economic specialisation, underpinning trade and investment objectives.

Businesses that are part of the Freeport can take advantage of a range of tax and customs benefits and incentives to support growth, innovation and investment in the South West, including business rates relief, employer National Insurance contributions rate relief, stamp duty land tax relief, capital allowances, VAT and tariff benefits and simplified import procedures.

The scheme has been designed to be highly sustainable and incorporates sustainable technology to minimise carbon emissions and running costs, including solar photovoltaic panels, increased levels of insulation, higher levels of natural daylight and ventilation, EV charging pods and highly efficient heating systems.

Once finished, the completed development will be available to occupy by eligible tenants. As this site is part of the Freeport designated tax site, eligible tenants must specialise in either marine, defence or space.

Councillor Evans added: “People ask me what the Freeport means to Plymouth. It means jobs – skilled work in sectors where Plymouth is really playing to its strengths – and getting support to unlock sites so that businesses can create jobs and expand.”

While the site is owned by Plymouth City Council, the land it sits on falls within the boundaries of South Hams District Council. The planning application went through the South Hams planning authority last year.