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22.10.15

Councils and LEPs join in landmark partnership to boost regional growth

Seven local authorities and two local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) have come together under a landmark partnership set to spearhead economic growth in the north.

The Northern Gateway Partnership is a collaboration between local authorities – Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Stafford, Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorlands and Stoke-on-Trent – and the Cheshire & Warrington and Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEPs.

Catalysed by the government’s High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) programme, it aims to “supercharge” economic growth in the region, which spans Cheshire and North Staffordshire including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe and the A500 corridor.

The “groundbreaking” partnership also aims to unlock 120,000 new jobs and deliver more than 100,000 homes by 2040 as a result of creating a ‘growth zone’ at the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine – a unique bridging position that the partners hope to capitalise on.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEPs 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.”

And Christine Gaskell, chair of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, added that working across boundaries and regions would enable the partnership to maximise its role in delivering the two initiatives.

The two LEPs, supported by the wider network of council partners, have also signed a concordat to work together to safeguard plan-led sustainable targeted growth and boost the benefits of the government’s HS2 investment.

Cllr Michael Jones, Cheshire East Council leader, 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.”

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