Civic and business leaders are celebrating the fifth anniversary of an enterprise zone that has transformed redundant brownfield land, with two million square feet of high-quality industrial development.
The Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone (CVEZ) comprises 140 hectares of land over six sites in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, including the former Shelton Bar steelworks site in the city, now known as Etruria Valley.
The CVEZ received government endorsement in 2015, and five years later and the area now boasts a string of impressive successes which is ‘powering up the city’ and boosting the wider area:
• 2.3 million square feet of land that has been developed or is in the pipeline to be developed into new industrial uses, with a further 270,000 square feet awaiting planning approval.
• Improving the local economy by £18.55m in gross value added (GVA).
• A total of 22 businesses now established across the six sites, employing more than 1,000 people, with businesses including local companies that have achieved rapid growth and national successes such as Tile Mountain, companies that have chosen to relocate to the city such as marine supplier JCH Marine, and skilled technology companies such as Assurant Group which is set to move into the enterprise zone’s Highgate/Ravensdale Tunstall Trade Park site.
• Hundreds of more jobs that have been supported through construction phases and thousands of more jobs in the pipeline.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Conservative Abi Brown said: “Working with a number of partners, we have created one of the most successful enterprise zones in the country. It has transformed areas like the former Shelton Bar works that were an important part of our city’s industrial heritage to significant new uses for industry that will power the local economy for generations to come. Its successes are further proof that Stoke-on-Trent is powering up in response to the coronavirus, with more businesses planning to move onto the site in the coming months. The regeneration work is winning national accolades for the quality of the developments on site – for example, Tunstall Arrow won the 2019 Insider West Midlands regeneration project of the year award.
“As a council, we have created 11 new industrial units at Etruria Trade Park, in Etruria Valley, the latest phase of developments on the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone. The units comprise 44,000 square feet of new industrial space in a fantastic location for road and rail connectivity.
“The pace of development of the enterprise zone is testament to the hard work of partners, and equally as significantly, to the attractiveness of our city as a place to invest in and create new jobs for local people. It’s another sign that Stoke-on-Trent is firmly on the up.”
The Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone has brought a range of partners together: Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and a number of developers and landowners including Network Space, Clowes Development, St Modwen, Goldendale Developments and Harworth Group. Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, which is run by the city council and county council with the support of the LEP, continues to provide tailor-made support to help businesses locate to the site.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council leader Simon Tagg said: “It’s great to mark a milestone anniversary in this important council partnership. Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone is big news for North Staffordshire and what we are jointly trying to achieve for the economic future of the area.
“The zone provides us with a fantastic opportunity to bring new investment into the area and accelerate the pace of development along the A500 corridor. We’ve worked together to make this happen and can already see progress on the ground, bringing hundreds of new jobs into the area.
“Our own site at Chatterley Valley West – where we hope to attract more than 2,000 new jobs – is a key part of the zone and features the outstanding Blue Planet building, a significant part of JCB’s global business. Work is scheduled to start next year on installing the infrastructure needed to accommodate more than a million square feet of industrial development. We’re also hoping to use potential Town Deal funding to help pay for a new access and are planning to invest there ourselves through the retention of local business rates.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman Alun Rogers said: “The CVEZ is one of our most important areas for growth and the creation of high-quality jobs. It will play a vital part in the delivery of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire long-term growth plan and our Local Industrial Strategy – particularly as our economy recovers from the pandemic.
“Due to its enterprise zone benefits and well-connected location, it is attracting the best businesses from the advanced manufacturing, technical, ceramics and sustainable energy sectors. The CVEZ has been made possible through a strong partnership between the LEP, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle Borough Council, with the landowners and developers. It will result in the attraction of multi-million pounds’ worth of investment and thousands of new jobs.”
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “We have a strong track record with our partners in delivering successful employment sites and attracting business investment across the county.
“The CVEZ plays a crucial part in our economic growth programme as it is one of two enterprise zones in our area – attracting a range of businesses in our key sectors and supporting higher value job creation.
“In just five years the CVEZ has made its mark and is testament to the strong collaborative working by our three councils, the LEP and the landowners and developers. We will continue with our efforts in attracting future investment to the site.”
Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone provides a range of benefits to businesses including enhanced capital allowances and business rates discounts. For more information about the enterprise zone and the support that Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire provides, visit www.makeitstokestaffs.co.uk, call 0300 111 8005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.