A commitment to deliver three major business development projects in Staffordshire that would potentially create thousands of jobs is set to be agreed by the county council’s cabinet next week.
The go-ahead would mean approval to begin design and project management and to seek funding for the delivery of construction work at Keele University Science and Innovation Park and infrastructure work at Chatterley Valley near Newcastle-under-Lyme and at the former Royal Ordnance factory site in Featherstone, South Staffordshire. The announcement is further demonstration of the county council’s wider commitment to increase the number of better paid jobs in an area with near full employment.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “These developments are great illustrations of how we are working together across the public and private sectors to bring jobs and sustained growth to our area. We are delighted to see that our ambitions to create more and better jobs benefitting local communities are taking shape on the ground.
“Development is really picking up pace and it is clear that Staffordshire is proving an increasingly attractive place for businesses to locate and to grow. This is a can-do county, and we have an unbeatable combination of a central UK location, great development sites and a skilled, enthusiastic workforce.”
In the north of Staffordshire, plans for a sixth business innovation centre at Keele University have been announced. This follows the near completion of Innovation Centre 5 (IC5) by the county council on Keele University’s Science & Innovation Park. The centre has taken just a year to complete after the county council invested £7million. IC6 would bring more skilled jobs in the high technology sector, providing high quality lettable space for new innovative businesses, start-ups and tech entrepreneurs, alongside state-of-the-art shared facilities to foster university and business collaboration. Potential additional investment would also provide new facilities for Keele University Management School and the Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership. IC6 would accommodate around 100 high value jobs. IC5 will be completed in July.
Dr Mark Bacon, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Keele University, said: “We are delighted that Staffordshire County Council is looking to continue its partnership with Keele in order to further develop the opportunities available for local businesses. Our Science and Innovation Park offers access to world-renowned research, state-of-the-art facilities and highly-skilled academics and graduates, all of which can aid businesses in developing new products and services. Through the county council’s investment, we can support the growth of more businesses and help to bring more high value jobs into the local area.”
At nearby Chatterley Valley plans to begin the process of creating the roads to enable major business development could be approved next week. The 94-acre site lies within the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone which will make it even more attractive to investors. In addition, all business rates will be retained by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. It is estimated that when fully developed, the site could accommodate 2,150 jobs. This project would be carried out with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and lead to general industry, manufacturing and distribution jobs.
In South Staffordshire the county council is planning to bring the 90-acre former Royal Ordnance munitions factory site just north of the M54 at Featherstone into commercial use, potentially accommodating up to 2,800 jobs. This would involve building a new link road to the A460, carrying out road improvements and building a new roundabout entrance to the site.
Staffordshire County Council’s economy leader Mark Winnington said: “Staffordshire’s huge economic success in recent years has been as a result of strong cooperation between public and private sectors and effective delivery. Today’s announcement that we plan to set the ball rolling with three more major business developments won’t come as a surprise and again demonstrates our ambition and drive to increase investment and better quality jobs. The county council has been directly involved in 250 million pounds worth of investment into business development over the last five years and this is set to increase. Having a good supply of skilled, well-paid jobs that put money in Staffordshire people’s pockets and raise people’s quality of life is central to what the county council does. We are making conditions right for business whilst improving opportunities and with our partners making every effort to boost skills and productivity.”
People can find out more by visiting: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/RightForBusiness
Announcement of the latest plans follows the successful delivery of a number of business development projects across Staffordshire including:
- i54 South Staffordshire – a £57million investment which has paved the way for 1,600 jobs so far and will accommodate 3,900 jobs when fully occupied
- Redhill Business Park in Stafford – an £11million investment where General Electric has made an significant investment and is expected to create around 2,500 jobs
- Meaford Business Park Stone – a £6million investment through the LEP’s Local Growth Deal to build the site infrastructure. The site is expected to create 2,200 jobs and proposals include a £300million gas turbine power station
- Liberty Park Lichfield – a £6million investment through the LEP’s Local Growth Deal to build supporting roads and access bridge which are now completed. Development on site is now under way and will lead to around 1,100 jobs
- IC5 at Keele University Science and Innovation Park – a £6.8million investment into a new business innovation centre to create 120 jobs.
The cabinet meeting takes place next Wednesday May 18.