One of the biggest Government growth deals in the country will see major business, transport and skills development projects in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire get off the ground from next year and create up to 5,000 jobs.
The Government today committed £82.2million from 2015/16 onwards to support a range of projects which form part of a long-term economic plan drawn up by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership. In 2015/16, £20.9million has been confirmed. It is estimated that the growth deal will bring a further £10million from public and private sector investment.
It means major projects can start as early as April next year with more to follow in 2016/17. This includes investment in the development of the Etruria Valley Enterprise Area (£2.4million initially), Lichfield Park employment site (£4million), Meaford employment site near Stone (£4.2million) and Bericote Four Ashes employment site in South Staffordshire (£1million). There will also be £16.1million investment to construct the Stafford Western Access Route – aiding growth and cutting congestion in the county town.
The following year will see a boost for local sustainable transport package, investment in the area’s Advanced Manufacturing Skills Hub and in the development at Branston Locks near Burton.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost said: “Today’s growth deal announcement sends out a strong message that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is a leading area for business and job creation. We have worked closely with the Government and been able to demonstrate a strong business case based on evidence that we can turn projects around quickly to create jobs, drive up skills and attract additional investment. A lot of hard work has taken place to stimulate these areas and people can already see progress. This is a big investment by the Government and will make a real difference to business and communities. We now have to step up to the challenge to deliver for people and business, which is what this LEP is all about.”
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “This substantial growth deal follows a great deal of work and expertise in putting together our case through the strategic economic plan. In Staffordshire we have shown that we deliver big projects – i54 South Staffordshire, Redhill, Kingswood Lakeside and the new automotive skills hub in Tamworth to name but a few. We have completed major road improvements to aid business expansion and are about to begin a huge project on the A50. The hard work won’t stop here – there are a good spread of projects across the county which we know will bring more and better paid jobs to Staffordshire people. They will also bring long-term benefits to our economy, resulting in better health and quality of life for Staffordshire people.”
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Mohammed Pervez said: “This is a welcome initial investment in our transport infrastructure which, with further investment planned in future years, will enable us to open up a new strategic corridor into the very heart of the city. Stoke-on-Trent is growing at pace and we must ensure it has the capacity and connectivity to support this rapid expansion. The Etruria Valley Link Road will ease pressure on our existing transport network by reducing congestion on the A500 and creating a new, direct link from the northern approach straight into the city centre. Future investment in our transport network will enable us to build on this to transform our city’s urban core, unlocking thousands of jobs and hundreds of new homes to put Stoke-on-Trent firmly in the fast lane of economic expansion.”