Demand in one of the region’s newest and biggest development zones is growing, and local businesses are already getting behind the opportunities it is creating.
Earlier this month the Ceramic Valley – the £1.5bn employment site adjacent to the A500 in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme – was officially designated as an Enterprise Zone by the government.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has already seen huge demand from a range of interested parties in the area, which aims to create 9,500 jobs by developing mainly brownfield land at Tunstall, Chatterley Valley, Etruria Valley and Cliffe Vale. The bid for the zone was co-ordinated by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, with support from the city council, Staffordshire County Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council.
Now local haulier Danny Poole is getting behind the opportunities being created by Ceramic Valley by emblazoning one of his 45-foot trailers in livery promoting the area.
The Sneyd Green businessman signed up to be one of Stoke-on-Trent’s first ambassadors earlier this year, in a scheme co-ordinated by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce to unite the city’s greatest advocates in a powerful network committed to promoting Stoke-on-Trent as a great place to live, work, learn, invest and grow a business.
Mr Poole, of DWP and Sons Ltd, said that his newly liveried trailer will travel the length and breadth of the country, showing off the opportunities that the Ceramic Valley has to offer.
He said: “The city has so many strengths. I’m proud of where I’m from and I want to spread the word that Stoke-on-Trent is a terrific place to live, work and invest in. This is my way of doing that. The Ceramic Valley is already having an impact with people up and down the country commenting on how brilliant the lorry looks. All the drivers are proud to do their bit and I’m proud to have helped in a small way to put the area on the map.”
The Ceramic Valley is a series of six employment sites along the A500 and has been named as one of 26 new and extended Enterprise Zones. Businesses basing themselves in Enterprise Zones can access a number of benefits including up to 100 per cent business rates discount worth up to £275,000 per business over a five-year period and enhanced capital allowances to businesses making large investments in plant and machinery. Local Enterprise Partnerships can also retain 100 per cent of business rate growth, enabling them to fund development on Enterprise Zones.
Councillor Abi Brown, deputy council leader, said: “The Enterprise Zone designation is clear recognition from government of the city’s growing status as a new growth point for UK Plc. Our area’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.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “The Ceramic Valley is the flagship project for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP. We are aiming to create 9,500 jobs at this central location in the UK and our plans are already generating a significant amount of interest. This truck in Ceramic Valley livery is an excellent example of how local businesses are embracing and promoting the concept.”
Sneyd Green ward councillor Joanne Powell-Beckett worked with Mr Poole on ways that he could help to promote the city. She said: “Danny embraces everything that is great about this city and it’s so good to have been able to help him get involved with promoting all that’s good about Stoke-on-Trent. It’s great to see people positively shouting about the city. For too long we’ve not done enough of this but you can see it’s starting to change now.”
For more information on the opportunities available at Ceramic Valley contact Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire investment service: firstname.lastname@example.org 0300 111 8805.
Abi Brown, David Frost and Danny Poole are pictured with the lorry in Ceramic Valley livery.