Northern Gateway partnership launched to spearhead region’s economic growth and fuel the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse
Today, October 21, sees the launch of a landmark partnership to deliver the Northern Gateway Development Zone – spearheading economic growth and supercharging the Northern Powerhouse by connecting with the Midlands Engine to capitalise on the investment potential arising from HS2 infrastructure through the area.
The Northern Gateway Partnership is a ground-breaking collaboration of seven local authorities and the Cheshire and Warrington and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnerships. It aims to unlock major new growth and investment opportunities which could deliver more than 100,000 new homes and 120,000 new jobs by 2040 by creating a new Growth Zone at the connecting gateway to the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine.
To drive the project forward Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP have signed a concordat committing the two organisations, supported by the wider network of Local Authority Partners, to working together to ensure plan-led sustainable targeted growth and optimise the benefits of HS2 investment.
The Northern Gateway spans Cheshire and the North of Staffordshire including the city of Stoke on Trent, Crewe and the A500 corridor. The partners working together to deliver growth opportunities – to be framed by a new Growth Strategy – include the two LEPs, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, has previously confirmed his intention to introduce a dedicated Hybrid Bill to bring HS2 to the North of England sooner than planned, subject to further analysis and decisions on the preferred route. The prospect of this investment in HS2 to the North is the catalyst for this new growth focused partnership.
The Northern Gateway partners are also committed to capitalising immediately on the Cheshire/Staffordshire region’s unique position as the bridging link between the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “Staffordshire and Cheshire are in a pivotal location at the heart of the UK, linking the Midlands Engine with the Northern Powerhouse. This innovative new partnership represents a great opportunity with massive potential by working together to benefit local people by bringing jobs and growth to our area.”
Christine Gaskell, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “The Northern Gateway Partnership will put the North and the Midlands in a strong position to deliver nationally significant economic growth, capitalising on the opportunities and investment that will be generated by HS2. Committing to work across boundaries and regions will enable us to work together in a joined up and strategic way, with the backing of Government, to maximise our role in delivering the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.”
HS2 presents a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ to become an engine for growth across the UK – not only providing North, South, East and West rail and road capacity and connectivity across regions but also stimulating new jobs and investment across the region and beyond.
The Northern Gateway Partnership consists of seven local authorities and two local enterprise partnerships (LEPs):
Cheshire East Council
Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
Staffordshire County Council
Cheshire West and Chester Council
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
Stafford Borough Council
Cheshire and Warrington LEP
Stoke and Staffordshire LEP
Comments from civic leaders around the region:
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Abi Brown said:
“Stoke-on-Trent is a city which is revitalised and bursting with energy. We have one of the fastest growing economies in the UK, a resurgent ceramics sector, two superb universities, a focus on sustainable energy, and bags of prime brownfield land right at the heart of the UK transport network.
“Working with our partners in Cheshire and Staffordshire we have the perfect mix to deliver a new growth point for UK plc. This is the tipping point for a new dynamic in the UK economy.”
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a really exciting project that will be hugely economically significant – not just regionally but nationally.
“It marks a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help realise the full economic potential for the Cheshire/Staffordshire region that investment in HS2 brings. Moreover, a Northern Gateway development zone would help supercharge the Northern Powerhouse and help successfully rebalance the economy of UK plc.
“We are confident this joint growth strategy will become a national exemplar of strategy-led regeneration and development to deliver really significant jobs and growth.”
Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Partnership working with our neighbouring authorities is vital to ensure that we can maximise exciting opportunities for growth and prosperity that HS2 offers.
“The creation of the Northern Gateway Partnership will be a key driver in our aspiration to create jobs for local people and to open up wider economic opportunities, particularly in Northwich and Winsford, where there is significant potential to build on the investment that the Council has already made in this area.”
Elizabeth Shenton, Leader of Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council, said: “Should an HS2 station be located near to the Borough we want to ensure that the locations of new housing and employment development, along with improved transport infrastructure, enable our businesses to be more competitive and provide our residents with better access to homes and jobs, whilst continuing to enjoy our beautiful surroundings.”
Councillor Sybil Ralphs MBE, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said. ‘‘We have worked enthusiastically with our partners to develop this visionary agreement. The proposed improvements in transport infrastructure are much needed and with so many Staffordshire Moorlands residents running their own business and nearly half our working population travelling to jobs in neighbouring areas we are well placed to seize the opportunity for new economic growth in the region.’’
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “In Staffordshire, we have a strong record of working with our partners and neighbours to create new jobs and deliver economic growth.
“This new partnership presents a further opportunity alongside the work Midlands Connects is already doing to build on this success story and ensure we get the best deal for Staffordshire and its people from national projects such as HS2 and its transport hubs.”