Cheshire & Warrington launches plan for £50bn economy

Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership has revealed a refreshed Strategic Economic Plan, setting out how the area aims to double its economy by 2040.

The updated SEP builds on the original plan developed in 2014, taking into account changes including the Brexit vote, the Government’s Industrial Strategy, confirmation of Crewe as a regional HS2 hub, and the creation of Transport for the North.

The new plan aims to grow the economy to at least £50bn of gross added value a year, create 120,000 net additional jobs, and build 127,000 new homes.

The refreshed SEP is more focused on placemaking, aimed at attracting and retaining skilled workers.

Key priorities and action points outlined in the plan include:

  • Transport: improving the road and rail network and better co-ordinating public transport services to enhance the area’s important commuting routes
  • Housing: ensuring the right numbers, type and quality of housing is developed in the right locations, at affordable prices; increase provision of smaller homes in urban areas to attract younger population
  • Skills: encouraging employers to work with young people on career opportunities so they can understand what skills and education they need
  • Energy: providing a roadmap for the LEP and its partners to capitalise on the area’s strengths in the energy sector, and deliver affordable energy and clean growth

Separate detailed delivery plans covering transport, skills, energy, science, innovation, digital, housing and quality of place will be published in autumn 2017.

The plan for growth is centred around a number of key areas:

  • Cheshire Science Corridor / Enterprise Zone
  • Mersey Dee Economic Axis
  • Constellation Partnership, formerly Northern Gateway Development Zone
  • Warrington New City
  • Atlantic Gateway

The SEP has been designed to be a “flexible, ‘living’ document that can adapt as the post-Brexit landscape becomes clearer”.

Christine Gaskell, chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “We have a strong economy that is outperforming the national average, a highly skilled workforce and unrivalled quality of place.

“The SEP sets out how we can build on these strengths to deliver our bold vision for economic growth and the strategic priorities we need to deliver to reach our target of a gross domestic product of £50bn per year by 2040.”

The LEP is planning an early review of the SEP in October 2017, followed by regular reviews.

Cheshire & Warrington LEP is now responsible for more than £250m of funding, through growth deals with Government and allocation of European Structural Investment Funds.

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