Up to 2,000 jobs are secured or in the pipeline as a result of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, one of the most successful of its kind in the UK, providing a huge boost to the economy in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
A celebration was held this week to mark the achievements to date and to officially launch Network Space’s £11 million Tunstall Arrow development on the site.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) vice chair Alun Rogers said: “The Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone is a flagship project for the LEP, linking together six key sites along the strategic A500 corridor to accelerate investment in a wide range of employment sectors, and we are delighted with the rapid pace of progress.
“The Enterprise Zone is good news for our economy in stimulating inward investment, driving business growth and creating more and better jobs for local people. It is a very strong marketing tool, strengthening the reputation of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire as a great location with excellent transport links, an enthusiastic workforce and a positive, forward-thinking approach to innovation and growth.”
Attendees were given a sneak peek inside Tunstall Arrow, which has seen three of its five units let prior to completion with each of the new occupiers agreeing 15-year lease terms. Negotiations are at an advanced stage with occupiers for the two remaining units.
Unit three, which is 10,208 square feet, has been pre-let to Netherlands-based Boels Rental, the largest provider of hire equipment and tools in Europe.
Pramac-Generac UK, which manages and distributes its world-leading brands, Pramac Power Generation and Generac Mobile Products to the hire, rail, construction and infrastructure sectors, among others, throughout the UK, has completed an agreement for lease for unit four, comprising 20,465 square feet and will be relocating from its present location in Crewe.
Premium international balustrade manufacturer Q-Railing has taken unit one, a 43,500 square foot space, with early access provided for fit-out works. The company has outgrown its existing premises in Wolstanton and is relocating to a 43,500 square foot unit at Tunstall Arrow, allowing it to stay in the local area.
Bruce Bradshaw, general manager of Q-railing, said: “We are delighted to be moving into high quality accommodation, while remaining in the Stoke-on-Trent area.
“The support from Stoke-on-Trent City Council has ensured that the entire development will be complete in the near future, creating an excellent work environment for our people as well as creating benefits for our customers too.”
Tuesday’s celebration included 200 invited guests. There were presentations by key representatives from across the project, covering subjects such as skills, the growth of the local economy, partnership working, the Tunstall Arrow site, and commercial property.
Councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader of the city council and chair of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone Board, said: “The potential of the Enterprise Zone has always been huge and the success to date shows just how attractive it is. The interest we have received from national and international businesses is fantastic for this city.
“We have worked with developers such as Network Space from a very early stage to understand their needs. There has also been a significant push to promote the benefits of the enterprise zone, including work at international trade shows and on innovative marketing projects.
“The fantastic news on jobs which are secured and in the pipeline is a direct result of the hard work by everyone across the enterprise zone project and we are extremely excited about the further benefits this will bring for Stoke-on-Trent.”
Councillor Janine Bridges, city council cabinet member for education and economy, said: “The success of the enterprise zone clearly demonstrates the confidence and ambition that is growing in the local economy. It’s great news for the local workforce and shows that businesses are recognising the benefits of investing in this area.
“There has already been significant progress, with organisations including parcel delivery company DPD, carvery restaurant Brindley Farm, tiles firm Tile Mountain, West Midlands Ambulance Service and balustrade manufacturer Q-railing signing up and brining hundreds of jobs to the sites.
“The future for the Enterprise Zone is very positive and we’re looking forward to many more success stories, with the potential for 6,700 jobs across the six locations.
“Our schools and colleges are already beginning to provide our young people with the skills necessary to fill these jobs and provide a successful and resilient workforce for the future.”
The 130,000 square foot Tunstall Arrow development includes five industrial units, ranging from 10,208 square feet to 43,500 square feet.
The scheme has been developed by Network Space and is being built by Caddick Construction. All the units come with self-contained yards as well as office space.
The development, based in Tunstall, has fantastic links to the transport network including the nearby A500 and M6.
Tunstall Arrow is being delivered in partnership with the city council, with grant funding coming from the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone Development Fund.
Network Space development director Simon Peters said: “The development of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone has been a fantastic initiative for the economic development of Stoke-on-Trent and we’re proud of the role that Tunstall Arrow has played in its success.
“The combination of a strategic location and high-quality units has resulted in high occupier interest for the first phase for Tunstall Arrow, including three pre-lets prior to the completion of the build.
“Now that phase one is complete, we hope to see this momentum continue as we look ahead to the second phase and the additional 100,000 square feet of commercial space that we will be delivering.”
The Ceramic Valley is one of only 48 enterprise zones across the country and has the potential for 6,700 jobs. The zone has the potential to include 3.3 million square feet of commercial floor space – the equivalent of more than 50 football pitches – with six key sites along the A500 corridor.
Enterprise zone status helps to reduce the costs and barriers to business growth, making the site a real pull for international investors.
Benefits to businesses include a significant rate reduction over a five-year period on five of the sites, enhanced capital allowances at the Etruria Valley site, and in certain circumstances, gap funding can be considered to support development.
The six areas will regenerate largely brownfield land, with the potential for many multi-million pound investments over the next decade.
The Ceramic Valley was launched in 2016 following a successful bid to government from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The enterprise partnership project is being delivered by the city council and includes Chatterley Valley West, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, ensuring the economic benefits spread throughout the North Staffordshire area.
Civic and business leaders are pictured celebrating Ceramic Valley’s success.