Cheshire and Warrington LEP
Louise Garforth

Member Article

Building on Success -The Cheshire and Warrington LEP

It is nearly a year since the Cheshire and Warrington LEP launched their business plan for delivering economic growth for the region and much progress has been achieved. The Growing Places Fund was launched and is already on track to deliver over 1000 jobs. The Apprenticeship Promise is on schedule to deliver the target of 100 business signs ups by April 2013. The Highways Agency has approved plans to improve 3 major motorway pinch points in the region and plans are in development to bring superfast broadband to homes and businesses across Cheshire.

Christine Gaskell Chair of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP commented:

“We are pleased with progress to date and will continue to deliver our milestones to reach the targets laid out in our business plan. There are many opportunities for Cheshire and we will work in close partnership to maximise the benefits from initiatives such as the Atlantic Gateway and proposed HS2 development.”

“Our ambition is for Cheshire and Warrington to be the best performing economy outside the Greater South East and the preferred location for business but we still need to change perceptions of the area. We will create an economic brand that transcends the local and is truly national and international, with strong recognition of our location and offer.”

The Strengths of Cheshire and Warrington were re-enforced by the sector research carried out earlier this year which highlighted over 1,075 registered businesses disclosing turnovers in excess of £1 million. It showed the region’s strength in manufacturing and also identified the other key sectors which are: pharmaceuticals, automotive, chemicals, nuclear & energy, and financial services. The report demonstrated that the sectors identified are strong from both an employment and output perspective.

Christine continued;

“Our manufacturing capability is of great importance and the message we are delivering is just how strong Cheshire and Warrington is and what great opportunities exist here.” “Our economy has a diverse base: with genuine world-class excellence from motor vehicles to pharmaceuticals, advanced science to logistics, financial and professional services to creative industries.”

“We have a compelling message to offer with the large population catchment area, a good managerial and professional skills base and access to graduates as well as national and international transport connectivity.”

“By 2020 we aim to grow the population to reach 1,000,000 and build the economy to a value of £30bn.”

Major projects outlined, that will contribute to achieving the growth targets include the successful delivery of Superfast Broadband to homes and businesses across Cheshire. Just last month Superfast Broadband came a step nearer when European state aid approval was given to the project. This decision lifted a significant blockage on progress to move forward with ambitious plans by the Connecting Cheshire Partnership to deliver more than 90 per cent superfast broadband coverage for Cheshire, Halton and Warrington.

Christine Added;

“This is great news for Cheshire and Warrington and a major step forward following long delays.”

“Faster broadband has the potential to boost Cheshire’s economy by £1.3 billion over the next 15 years and create more than 11,000 jobs. It is essential that the partnership continues to work tirelessly to make sure that we deliver broadband to Cheshire and Warrington and secure much needed business growth.

“Christine Gaskell concluded;

“2012 has been a busy year with Cheshire promoting its plans for growth to over 400 civil servants in Westminster and targeting potential London based investors through hosted events in the capital.”

“In addition to the major projects we are delighted that the highways improvements around Cheshire’s three worst pinch points will be completed by March 2015.”

“With the continued delivery of our major projects, place marketing activity and supporting the development of key employment sites, we will create the right environment for growth.”

Looking forward, priorities for 2013 include the development of a place marketing strategy, creation of an association of business support organisations and continued delivery of the Growing Places Fund. In addition, the LEP will work with partners in the development of residential and employment sites, promotion of Cheshire and Warrington’s key strategic sites and progressing the skills agenda. Engaging with Government on plans for HS2 and providing broadband across the sub-region will remain priorities for the LEP.The Cheshire & Warrington LEP will be holding a stakeholder briefing in March at which a comprehensive update will be given.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Louise Garforth .

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