A DOOR is being opened for Torbay businesses to enable them to apply for European funding to expand.
If formally approved in July, assisted area status for areas of Torbay will enable local firms to apply for euro funding as well as firms moving into the area.
Businesses in Blatchcombe, Shiphay with the Willows and Tormohun should find it easier to grow under the Government's assisted area status which runs until 2020.
Potential investors in developments in Torquay town centre and the former Bookham site at Paignton will be eligible together with companies in a list of employment sites in the wards.
Assisted area status permits the granting of additional financial support to small businesses and large enterprise in economically disadvantaged locations.
This support is to encourage business in these communities to expand, innovate and thrive.
The announcement follows lobbying by the Torbay Development Agency and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership to be able to deliver the regeneration initiatives planned to improve the local economy and attract and retain jobs and investment in the three areas.
Carl Wyard, economy and enterprise manager at Torbay Development Agency said there was no extra Government money with this status.
"But it means that businesses in these areas can apply for more funding before European state aid rules kick in which is a measure of anti-competitiveness.
"At present you can only apply for 200,000 euros over a two year period, within the assisted areas you will be able to apply for more. Currently we don't yet know what the ceiling amount will be.
"We are in the process of developing an interactive map to inform businesses in this area, and will be in touch to let them know of this opportunity.
"There are some key employment sites within these areas, so the new status should make these parts of Torbay attractive to potential inward investors as they would be eligible for more help with capital works.
"As soon as it is announced we will be in touch with companies in these areas."
He said the services offered by the Torbay Development Agency, including special support for companies moving into the area, should add to the attractiveness of the area for industry.
The employment areas in the wards for assisted area status are: Shiphay and the Willows, Edginswell business park, Browns Bridge (former tip), Torbay Hospital. Tormohun: Torquay Town Centre, Woodlands trading estate. Blatchcombe: Yalberton industrial estate, Jacksons Land south of Long Road, White Rock business park, the former Bookhams site.
Steve Parrock, chief executive, said the status would not open the floodgates to hundreds of thousands of euros flooding into Torbay.
"It is up to us to put an excellent case forward for future investment. We have the capacity and resources, the sites, the contribution of the TDA and Torbay Council and the £1million Torbay Growth Fund."
He said they would be focusing on key sectors such as high tech, health sector, call centres and marine industries.