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New Wolverhampton-Staffordshire Economic Growth Zone vision explored at UKREiiF

The three councils behind the i54 business park – the UK’s most successful enterprise zone – have connected with national advisors and partners at a UKREiiF roundtable to help shape the vision for a potential new economic growth zone in Wolverhampton and Staffordshire.

The chief executives of Staffordshire County Council, City of Wolverhampton Council and South Staffordshire Council today (Tuesday) hosted the discussion at the UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum in Leeds.

i54 South Staffordshire has seen public and private investment of over £1.5 billion, attracting high-profile advanced manufacturing occupiers like JLR and MOOG Aerospace, and created thousands of high-quality jobs for local communities as well boost the local supply chain.

There are also major developments coming forward around i54 such as the West Midlands Interchange, Logic 54 and the newly announced Green Innovation Corridor in Wolverhampton.

The initial Green Innovation Corridor plans will link Wolverhampton’s key assets at the Springfield Campus with those at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park and introduce new development opportunities, incubation space, and improvements to the city’s green and blue networks.

It is a key pillar of the West Midlands Investment Zone and has secured £7million funding from Investment Zone status and £20million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Today’s roundtable explored opportunities to build on the Green Innovation Corridor by developing an economic growth zone in the geographic area either side of the City of Wolverhampton-Staffordshire county border.

The feedback will inform a potential procurement exercise for a feasibility study on the proposed economic growth zone.

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “i54 South Staffordshire has been a huge success and there are many exciting developments in the area taking place or planned for the near future, including the West Midlands Interchange and the ROI Featherstone site. With our partners at City of Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire councils we want to continue to build a strong economic growth zone here which we know will attract millions of pounds in investment and create hundreds of jobs.

“We have demonstrated that by working collaboratively with partner councils we have been able to boost our economies considerably, and we know this potential zone would continue to put us on the map in attracting new business nationally and internationally. We look forward to further developing our plans.”

City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city development, jobs and skills Chris Burden said: “As part of the emerging West Midlands Investment Zone, Wolverhampton’s Green Innovation Corridor will drive the Green Industrial Revolution, building upon the city’s sustainable construction, green credentials and circular economy for transformation that will create quality jobs and opportunities for all.

“There is also the long-term potential, in partnership with the Staffordshire local authorities, to build on the initial corridor, and develop a wider economic growth zone in a strategic location that has strong connectivity and would attract national attention.

“We believe this can be achieved by building on the rock-solid foundations of our award-winning collaborative work at i54, which is delivering jobs, skills and further investment.”

South Staffordshire Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for business enterprise and community infrastructure Victoria Wilson said: “The development of i54 South Staffordshire has been a game changer for the local and regional economy and has shown the real strength of working in collaboration with our partners. Moreover, our collective ambition means we now want to take that success a stage further.

“The Economic Growth Zone concept builds upon our successes by bringing forward further investment opportunities in a highly accessible location and delivering a lasting legacy of prosperity to the area. We now look forward to further collaboration with our public and private sector partners to make that happen.”

 

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