Cheshire East Council has reaffirmed its commitment to the Northern Gateway Partnership to spearhead economic growth in the region.
The partnership is a ground-breaking collaboration of seven local authorities – including Cheshire East Council – and both Cheshire and Warrington and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
It aims to give a massive boost to delivering new jobs, homes and investment.
The Northern Gateway Partnership is working together across authority borders to maximise the potential benefits to its communities from HS2 high-speed rail – including a hub station at Crewe – through formation of a regional growth strategy.
This will aim to supercharge economic growth in the region by connecting the Northern Powerhouse with the Midlands Engine to capitalise on the economic potential of HS2.
The partnership has already made significant progress since its launch in autumn 2015, with economic baseline analysis having been submitted to government in December 2016 and further work already under way to inform the final growth strategy, expected to be submitted this April (2017).
The partnership has strong backing from government, having received £625,000 in funding to progress development of the regional growth strategy in 2016, and recent confirmation that a further £625,000 will be received in 2017, taking the total to £1.25m.
The partnership is keen to demonstrate that the region is ‘open for business’ and will target improving conditions for Northern Gateway residents and businesses, as well as attracting new communities and investors to the region.
The Northern Gateway spans Cheshire and North Staffordshire including the city of Stoke on Trent, Crewe, Stafford and the A500 corridor.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “The partnership is an invaluable opportunity to work closely with our neighbours to create opportunities for good growth, which will create new and lasting connections between people, places and businesses.
“The growth strategy for the region will be sensitive to both the needs of our existing communities and new residents, enabling all our communities to contribute to and benefit from economic success across the region.
“The partnership is made up of a group of authorities who are all keen to lead ambitious plan-led, place-based change, capitalising on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offered by HS2 to realise economic growth, which will contribute to a quality of place which is second to none.
“Our region’s major selling point is our diversity – we seek to celebrate our distinctive places and communities. Through developing a regional growth strategy for the Northern Gateway, we seek to improve the prosperity, life chances and wellbeing of our existing and future communities.”
She added: “We believe this innovative joint growth strategy will become a national exemplar of strategy-led regeneration and development to deliver really significant jobs and growth across the region.”
The partnership will continue to work closely with central government to define the next stages of the growth strategy, due for submission in April, 2017.
The government is developing a national Industrial Strategy, which is likely to recognise the importance of the UK’s regions in playing their part in growing the economy. This provides a platform for the Northern Gateway Partnership to define a new economic chapter for the area and provide focus for policy innovation.
● The partners working together to deliver growth opportunities are: Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the two LEPs.