Business News Update: Adoption of new planning framework, an update on grants, online training courses and business support

Braintree District Council

Business news

Where are we with the business grants?


Business grants have now been issued to just over 70% of eligible businesses – with about another 200 applications in the pipeline being processed and paid this week.

This means that we have now paid out £21.1 million (so far) in small business grants and cash grants for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

This places us in the top 15% of Local Authorities in the country making grant payments to eligible businesses.

Our aim next week will be to make direct contact for a second time with those businesses that we’ve identified as eligible, but who have not yet returned their application forms.

Application forms were sent out to the trading addresses of eligible businesses at the end of March.

If you run a business which is eligible, but haven’t yet returned your form, please email it back to as soon as you can.

If you’re unsure of your eligibility, you can email for advice, help and support.

New tool to help businesses identify suitable grants

A new ‘support finder‘ tool has been launched to help businesses and self-employed people quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new online platform asks business owners and the self-employed to fill out a quick and simple online questionnaire. They will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for.

► Read more here.

Horizon 120 takes another step forward

Horizon 120 zones

The planning framework (Local Development Order) for the Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park planned for Great Notley has been approved.

The zonal plan for the site will allow for the development of high quality office, manufacturing and industrial space. It will also allow for the creation of a central hub which could be home to a hotel and other facilities which will add to the experience of employees working on the site.

We are pressing ahead with plans, despite the current lockdown, in readiness for when businesses start moving again as and when the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are changed or lifted by central government.

The exciting thing for businesses about the use of a Local Development Order is that it automatically grants planning permission for certain forms of development and land uses within particular zones on a site, making it easier and quicker for businesses to build the premises they need without the need to apply for separate planning permission (as long as they meet certain conditions).

The Marshgate Group will take the lead on the delivery of this business park. The commercial property developer plans to deliver, for its business clients, a mix of commercial units compliant with the conditions of the new planning framework.

If you want to find out more:

Billion pound support package for innovative firms hit by coronavirus

Businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the coronavirus outbreak with a £1.25 billion government support package. The comprehensive package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

The Future Fund will issue convertible loans to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank and will launch in May 2020. Find out how to apply here.


Cybersecurity virtual workshop amid COVID-19

A growing number of cybercriminals are exploiting the COVID-19 outbreak and security agencies across the world are issuing COVID-19 cybersecurity threat updates as more organisations are falling victim.

Dr. Audrey Guinchard, a leading expert working at the intersection between cybercrime, data protection, and cybersecurity, is hosting an online workshop on how to protect your organisation from cybercrime on Wednesday, 13th May at 10am.

Register for this webinar here.

Urgent need for more Personal Protective Equipment

Image which says PPE required with images of PPE

Essex companies have been donating unopened and unwanted stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Essex County Council to support those who work in social care across Essex, and while the council is incredibly grateful for any stock, much more is needed.

The council still needs masks, disposable gloves, aprons, eye goggles and also any sanitising gel. This will be provided to front line staff who are caring for the most vulnerable residents in Essex over the coming days and weeks.

The council recognises there may be a variety of reasons why companies have ended up with some PPE that they cannot currently reuse or distribute and would particularly appreciate hearing from those with larger volumes.

Essex County Council may be willing to purchase any stocks if needed.

To donate or advise of stock please email with your PPE supply details including quantity and postcode, plus a contact name and phone number.

Any items offered and suitable will be collected safely with collectors observing social distancing and hand hygiene rules.

Celebrating our heroes: We are looking to celebrate and say thank you to the heroes in the Braintree district who are doing incredible work in the battle against Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you want to share your story on how you’re donating PPE stock to help vulnerable residents, please email us on  

We will publish your stories in our newsletters and on our social media channels as a thank you for helping in the fight against coronavirus.

TALE Webinars: online briefings offering help and practical advice for company managers


TALE Webinars focus on advice and action plans that can be implemented by company managers, with the emphasis on practical methods and examples.

The topics covered include:

  • How to write (rewrite) your business plan?
  • Practical tips to get your website in order post COVID-19
  • Enhancing your operations and processes
  • How can you start planning for your post COVID-19 strategy?

The FREE briefings will be held using Zoom Meetings. The webinars will not last longer than an hour with the presentation element lasting for 30-40 minutes.

For more information on the topics and the dates of the sessions.

Best Growth Hub business support

The BEST Growth Hub offers a completely free and impartial service, signposting businesses to areas which may benefit them.

During these unprecedented times, the hub would like to make business owners aware of all the COVID-19 financial and business support facilities available to them.

Business navigators are available for free discussions via phone or email to answer questions and concerns, as well as point you in the right direction for external or government advice.

If your business would like to receive direct support from your local business navigator please complete our Business Support form and indicate what support you are interested in and how COVID-19 has affected you so far.

Once we have this information a member of the Growth Hub Team will be in contact with you to discuss your individual case.

business support

Latest government information for businesses which details:

  • Access to funding and support
  • Responsibilities as an employer
  • Advice and guidance for managing your business
  • How you can help

We will continue to bring you the most up-to-date advice via these emails, our website and on social media.

You can also join our closed Braintree District Businesses Facebook group to find support from other businesses in our district.

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