Development of a Staffordshire business park supported by the county council and local enterprise partnership will see major infrastructure work on schedule for completion in spring 2014.
The Beacon Business Park extension in Stafford could create up to 2,000 jobs and has been made possible by a partnership between the developer ISE Estates, the LEP and Staffordshire County Council.
In addition to developer funding, the project involved the LEP securing an allocation of £1.5million from the Government’s Growing Place Fund and the county council £1.7million from the Department of Transport’s Local Pinch Point Fund. Successful Growing Places Fund projects need to demonstrate that they will facilitate economic growth and provide returns which can be reinvested locally, in addition to attracting further private investment. The Local Pinch Point Fund is aimed at easing congestion around potential bottle-necks to support jobs and growth.
Construction began in September and infrastructure work – which includes a new traffic island at a busy junction on the A518 – is set to be completed in March. This stretch of the A518 is the main route into Stafford from the east and serves a high school, Staffordshire University, the police headquarters and the fire station. The island at the junction with Blackheath Lane will also provide access to the new Beacon extension. The extension is on a 50-acre site and will provide mixed use land including freehold, leasehold, and design and build packages of varying sizes up to 100,000sqft.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for transport Simon Tagg said: “It is encouraging to see work progressing so well going into 2014 with a March end date for infrastructure improvements. This is another business development which will bring jobs and growth to Staffordshire.
“It is a great example of how the county council, LEP and developer have worked closely together to achieve a really positive outcome.
“The work our highways team is doing is supporting a new site for business at the same time as vastly improving a junction on one of the main routes into Stafford, easing congestion and boosting the town’s connectivity.
“We will see real long-term benefits to our economy, job opportunities and the town’s infrastructure and would therefore ask people to bear with us while work is carried out. With work at Redhill business park on the north side of Stafford also finishing in March and i54 South Staffordshire seeing major milestones early in the year, 2014 will be a really exciting year.”
Jeremy Mellor, the LEP’s lead for sites and infrastructure, added: “This project shows what we can achieve by working closely together. We have been able to demonstrate to the Government that we can move quickly to ensure schemes like this are ready to start and secure funding accordingly. We supported this development through the Growing Places Fund process and it is rewarding to see it progressing well. It is bringing improved infrastructure to the county town and new jobs for the area a step closer.”
Benson Greatrex, ISE Estates Ltd director, said: “It has been great to be supported by the county council and the LEP taking this expansion project forward. Fifty acres is a substantial size and will make Beacon Business Park three times as big as it is currently. We are really pleased to play a part in the wider area’s on-going economic growth.”
Infrastructure work includes the new A518/Blackheath Lane roundabout, a new link road on to the site and a new signal crossing.