Cheshire and Staffordshire’s joint Constellation Partnership is to create an investment fund “in the style of North West Evergreen, but bigger”, according to outgoing chairman Jackie Sadek, as part of the campaign’s plans to maximise growth opportunities around HS2 and the proposed Crewe station.
Today marks Sadek’s final day as chairman of Constellation Partnership, as she departs from the independent role in order to return to the project “as a private sector investor”. She was named chairman of the Northern Gateway Development Zone at MIPIM UK last October, and the organization rebranded to Constellation in March.
Constellation brings together seven local authorities and two local enterprise partnerships, spanning Staffordshire and Cheshire.
Speaking to Place North West, Sadek said that over the course of the year she has worked to turn Constellation into an “investor-ready proposition” with keen interest when she has pitched the project overseas.
“Constellation is the greatest investment opportunity in the UK bar none,” she enthused. “Local authorities are working well together, but we only have a short window of time to prove this ‘coalition of the willing’ approach will work. The Government will not let us fail so we need to step up to the plate.
“I’ve been around long enough to know you can create a new office location in a far less likely location than Crewe, so the ‘Canary North’ I keep pushing is not that unfeasible. We have the Holy Trinity of Government support, shedloads of land in public ownership, and the certainty that this train is absolutely coming to Crewe.”
The Constellation Partnership’s ambition is to deliver 120,000 new jobs and 100,000 new homes by 2040, supercharged by the investment in HS2.
In order to deliver on those ambitious targets, Constellation is moving towards the delivery stage, appointing investment agents “with interest from all the main players”, and setting up the investment fund, which Sadek called “bigger than Evergreen”.
The North West Evergreen Fund, which is made up of 16 local authority limited partners, and was established to provide funding to support real estate projects. So far it has invested £85m in regional projects, backed by ERDF money.
Sadek is working with Philip Cox, chairman of the Cheshire & Warrington LEP, who was instrumental in setting up Evergreen. Details are set to emerge in the coming months.
The Constellation Partnership’s HS2 Growth Strategy, to be submitted to Government in November, identifies how the Partnership will fully integrate HS2 as part of a “polycentric” city offer and unlock growth within the region, across Cheshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Sadek’s replacement as chairman is yet to be announced.
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