Government approval for a new Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone in Stoke-on-Trent and north Staffordshire has been warmly welcomed by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which coordinated the bid.
Chancellor George Osborne today gave the go-ahead for Ceramic Valley, one of 26 new enterprise zones announced as part of the Autumn Statement and Spending Review.
Ceramic Valley will be the country’s first high-technology ceramics enterprise zone, and will be developed on land along the A500 corridor in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme. 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 he was delighted by today’s news that the Government had backed the bid. Ceramic Valley would be great news for the local economy by driving business growth and creating more and better jobs for local residents, he added.
“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.”
The Ceramic Valley scheme aims to create 9,000 jobs by developing mainly brownfield sites along the A500 corridor, including at Tunstall, Chatterley Valley, Etruria Valley, and Cliffe Vale.
The city’s research expertise, skills, supply chains and connectivity make Stoke-on-Trent a natural hub for advanced ceramics, and the rapid growth of a Ceramic Valley will enable the UK to compete with the growing technical ceramics sectors in the US, Germany and Italy. The scheme will help to speed up the diversification of the area’s key industry from pottery to technical ceramics.
Council leaders in Stoke-on-Trent have hailed the Government’s decision to approve the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone as recognition of the city’s growing status as a new growth point for UK Plc.
The chain of six enterprise development locations along the A500 corridor through the city will regenerate over 240 hectares of largely brownfield land, with over £2.5billion of investment over the next decade.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Abi Brown said this was a sign of the city’s new found self-confidence and energy.
“I am absolutely delighted with today’s announcement that Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire is to get an Enterprise Zone, based around our ground-breaking Ceramic Valley proposal. After the disappointment of the 2011 bid failing to gain any traction, I was determined that this time we should put in a strong, coherent bid that played to the city’s newly emerging strengths and focuses on delivering real tangible results quickly, and I cannot wait to see this development start to take shape.”
“There is a real buzz at the moment locally with so many great things happening – European City of Sport next year, new housing and retail developments in progress and now the Enterprise Zone. I am delighted that the government have recognised this and are backing our ambitious plans to deliver a growing aspirational city.”
“Government is now recognising Stoke-on-Trent’s extraordinary potential. This opens the door to the further growth stimulated by HS2 connectivity and the Northern Gateway. Stoke-on-Trent is cementing a reputation as a growth point for the nation.”
Councillor Brown said it was further evidence of the city’s new dynamic and adds momentum to its trajectory as one of the fastest growing economies in the country, with record job and business expansion and falls in unemployment.
Iain Griffin, Development Manager for Harworth Estates welcomed the announcement, making Stoke-on-Trent a hot ticket for international investment.
“We’re delighted that the ‘Ceramic Valley’ has secured Enterprise Zone status, which is a real shot in the arm for the local economy and shows confidence in what the region is trying to achieve economically. The announcement helps to put our Chatterley Valley development on the map and will provide further incentives to companies who want to locate here.”
Notes: Chancellor George Osborne announced in July’s budget that all Local Enterprise Partnerships would have the opportunity to support an Enterprise Zone
Businesses basing themselves in Enterprise Zones can access a number of benefits including up to 100% business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a 5-year period and enhanced capital allowances (tax relief) to businesses making large investments in plant and machinery.
There is also 100% retention of business rate growth for LEPS, to enable them to fund development on Enterprise Zones.