There is already national and international business interest in North Staffordshire’s Ceramic Valley, within a fortnight of the area being granted Enterprise Zone status by the Government.
Deputy council leader Abi Brown has revealed that Stoke-on-Trent City Council is in talks with major UK and overseas companies about the potential of the site.
At the end of November the government selected Ceramic Valley as one of only 18 new Enterprise Zones across the country. The bid for the zone was coordinated by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Ceramic Valley is made up of a chain of five enterprise development locations along the A500 corridor through Stoke-on-Trent and one in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Ceramic Valley will be the country’s first high-technology ceramics enterprise zone. The extra funding and investment available through the zone will help to expand the area’s advanced manufacturing sector, one of the LEP’s top priorities for economic growth, and develop new technologies for engineering.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said Ceramic Valley would be great news for the local economy by driving business growth and creating more and better jobs for local residents.
“The Enterprise Zone will have a major positive impact for our area, not only in financial benefits to businesses and the LEP, but also in raising the profile of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire,” he said.
“An Enterprise Zone is a very strong marketing tool in attracting inward investment and strengthening our reputation nationally and internationally as a great location with a forward-looking, positive approach to innovation and growth.”
Enterprise Zone status helps to reduce the costs and barriers to business growth, making Ceramic Valley a real magnet for international investors.
The six areas will regenerate over 240 hectares of largely brownfield land, with the potential for over £2.5 billion of investment over the next decade. Based on nationally recognised standards for business use floor space, the sites are large enough to accommodate up to 9,000 new jobs in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
Councillor Brown said: “Our phones haven’t stopped ringing since the announcement by government, and it is fabulous news that there is already such interest.
“We have had significant interest from UK and overseas companies, and that dialogue will continue. We are working hard to secure investment for the area.
“Attracting Enterprise Zone status is another shot in the arm for our city’s economy. We’re already one of the country’s fastest growing economies and this status shows the confidence from government in our achievements and future ambition.”
Elizabeth Shenton, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said, “Ceramic Valley is big news for North Staffordshire and what we are jointly trying to achieve for the economic future of the area.
“The first phase of the borough’s Chatterley Valley site is a key part of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone and has already seen the creation of the outstanding Blue Planet building, now a significant part of JCB’s global business.
“The next phase of the Chatterley Valley project is to deliver the 40 hectares of land to the west of the railway land and we are in talks with developer Harworth Estates about plans to bring this forward, both for large scale inward investment purposes and for small business accommodation. Hopefully, this would help bring a further 1,500 jobs to the area.”