HS2 presents a generational opportunity, says Cheshire East leader Cllr Michael Jones

LEPs promote Northern Gateway vision

The Local Enterprise Partnerships for Cheshire & Warrington and Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire have joined forces to launch Northern Gateway Development Zone, to exploit HS2 and promising to deliver 100,000 new homes by 2040.

The two LEPs have signed a concordat committing them, supported by the wider network of seven local authority partners, to “work together to ensure plan-led sustainable targeted growth and optimise the benefits of HS2 investment.”

The Northern Gateway spans Cheshire and North Staffordshire including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe and the A500 corridor.

Cllr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, 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 and 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.”

The partners working together to deliver growth opportunities include the two LEPs, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West & Chester Council, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Council, Stafford Council, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Moorlands Council and Stoke-on-Trent Council.

The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, has previously confirmed his intention to introduce a dedicated hybrid bill to bring HS2 to the North of England sooner than planned, subject to further analysis and decisions on the preferred route.

The Northern Gateway partners are also committed to capitalising immediately on the Cheshire/Staffordshire region’s unique position as the bridging link between the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP 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.”

Christine Gaskell, chairman of Cheshire & Warrington LEP, said: “The Northern Gateway Partnership will put the North and the Midlands in a strong position to deliver nationally significant economic growth, capitalising on the opportunities and investment that will be generated by HS2.

“Committing to work across boundaries and regions will enable us to work together in a joined up and strategic way, with the backing of Government, to maximise our role in delivering the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.”

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