Christopher Kirkland


St. Modwen schemes to support the creation of over 1,000 jobs

Posted by | Etruria Valley, Meaford, News, Trentham Lakes | No Comments

Work is expected to begin in January on a range of industrial and logistics units in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire which could create more than 1,000 jobs.

Birmingham-headquartered developer St Modwen is behind the projects at Etruria Valley and Trentham Lakes.

Planning approval has already been granted for five units at Trentham Lakes, ranging from 22,000 sq ft to 250,000 sq ft.

The company is set to be told next month on whether it has also been given the go-ahead for the next two phases at Etruria Valley, comprising a trade park scheme as well as a 43,000 sq ft standalone industrial and logistics unit. A further planning application for 51,000 sq ft on the same site has also been submitted.

The schemes are in addition to the development at Meaford Business Park, where St Modwen has already speculatively built 36,000 sq ft of industrial and logistics space, with planning secured for a further two industrial warehouse units, one 50,000 sq ft and the other 22,000 sq ft.

Euan Lindsay, senior development manager at St Modwen, said: “The north Staffordshire area continues to offer great opportunities for investment and our work across these three key sites has attracted major names and created a significant number of job opportunities.

“We’re keen to ensure Etruria Valley, Meaford Business Park and Trentham Lakes reach their full potential – and with a further circa 570,000 sq ft in the pipeline – we’re confident they will.”

James Clements, head of Midlands logistics and industrial at Knight Frank, added: “It is fantastic to see St Modwen committing to bring these sites forward at such a crucial time.

“There is a lack of good quality supply in this size range across the region, and developments like this are necessary to satisfy demand.”

David Whitehouse from InLIFE

Partnership launched to boost digital innovation in communities and businesses

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A partnership which will explore and deliver digital innovation in Staffordshire to improve people’s lives and boost business productivity has been officially launched.

Staffordshire County Council and Staffordshire University will be working together to create a range of opportunities to support a thriving local economy, increase skills and improve health and wellbeing by making the most of the latest digital technology.

The Staffordshire Deal, which was launched in Stafford today, aims to raise aspirations of students, communities and businesses.

The university is celebrating over 50 years of computing excellence and is a leader in digital technology. It is aiming to create thousands of apprenticeships over the next decade, embedding digital skills to support the needs of local business. Schools are also set to benefit from the university’s Microsoft Digital Skills programme, which aims to improve learning and knowledge of students and teachers as well as creating digital apprenticeships.

In addition, digital innovation events will be delivered in Stafford as part of extending the university’s presence across the county – supporting businesses by driving innovation and improving productivity.

Over the next five years the Staffordshire Deal sets out to:

  • Create 900 digitally enable apprentices
  • Produce 3,000 digitally enabled graduates
  • Ensure 100 businesses are engaged in digital innovation
  • Retain 50 % more digitally skilled graduates in the local area

David Whitehouse is chief executive and founder of digital marketing agency InLIFE, based in Burntwood. He is a computer science graduate from Staffordshire University and helped launch the Deal at an event in Stafford on Friday.

David, who attended Chase Terrace High School and Stafford College, began his career in IT support and then became a web designer for Phones4U. He later  worked in web design at Staffordshire University.

David said: “I eventually followed my ambitions and set up my own business, a digital marketing agency, in 2011. I started on my own but was determined to help local students, particularly after the support I had received as a student myself.

“My first employee was from Stafford College and is now a partner in the business. I later took on a work placement from Staffordshire University who became a full time employee, before taking on a third person who had also worked with us as a university placement.

“It has been great to work with newly graduated local students as they bring fresh knowledge and enthusiasm to the business. Now after seven-and-a-half years and with six members of staff, the business has grown and we have a range of customers in the UK and internationally.

“It is now 15 years since I graduated it has been amazing to see the speed of change in the digital arena. It is brilliant to see this deal embracing this fast-paced digital environment. It will be exciting to see what the next 15 years holds.”

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “These are exciting times and we are working continually with a range of partners to ensure we are a more prosperous county where people are better skilled and have better paid jobs.

“Successful partnerships are vital to this delivery and so we’re pleased to mark our close working relationship with Staffordshire University this week. It is at the forefront of the digital age and this partnership will ensure that county residents and businesses fully benefit from its expertise and leadership.

“Modern technology is helping to boost efficiency and transform how we work for the benefit of our residents.  Our partnership means that we can explore cutting edge technology and to think digital first wherever possible. Digital innovation will improve lives and productivity, leading to a healthier, happier and more prosperous county.

“We are fortunate to have this type of expertise here and look forward to building on this partnership to make this county a global digital leader.”

Professor Ieuan Ellis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Partnerships and Region) said “Staffordshire University has an outstanding heritage in technology, and is at the forefront in preparing graduates and supporting businesses to embrace the transformational opportunities of digital technologies. We are leading the country for our courses in computer game design and Esports.  As a connected university that is committed to improving people’s lives across the region, and beyond, it is vital that we use our expertise to bring new opportunities and a higher quality of life to people across Staffordshire.

“Our partnership with Staffordshire County Council, who are recognised as a leading local authority, will bring real benefits to local people and businesses across the region. It will see more joined-up support and digital technologies become a fundamental part of citizen’s lives. Staffordshire sits on the cusp of becoming a truly digital county and we are proud to be playing a key role to realise this opportunity.”

(left to right) James Leavesley from the LEP, local county councillor Julia Jessel and Philip Atkins

Partners gather to mark completion of major road scheme delivering multi-million pound development

Posted by | Branston Locks, News | No Comments

The completion of a major Staffordshire road project which will pave the way to a multi-million pound business, housing and leisure development near Burton has been marked at an event near the site.

The Branston Locks development will see 400 acres of land immediately west of the A38 developed with 2,500 new homes, a range of community facilities and a 50-acre employment site.

It will also include retail, health, leisure and recreational facilities, as well as provision for older people. A new 1,550 place high school has been built by the county council on land nearby – the first in 25 years – and a new primary school will also be built. The total investment in the area could be over £800million.

The county council has delivered a package of road and infrastructure works which will enable Nurton Developments (Quintus Ltd) to move on site to carry out the main project, together with residential developers.

The road project has been partly funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund through its Growth Deal with the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Nurton Developments has also made a substantial contribution. The project recently scooped the Best Large Project award at an annual regional Institute of Highway Engineers event.

It has involved a complete realignment of Branston Road to make it suitable for the volume of traffic created by the new development and construction of a new bridge over the Trent and Mersey Canal. The new bridge has already won an award for its engineering design. Pedestrian and cycle access to the future development and canal tow path have also been created.

The project delivery team joined county council leader Philip Atkins, local enterprise partnership executive board member James Leavesley, chief executive of the John Taylor Academy Mike Donaghue and other delegates at the event at The Bridge Inn, Branston, on Friday.

Staffordshire County Council’s leader Philip Atkins said: “This has been a huge project for us – paving the way for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment leading to new jobs and new homes. It is a credit to our teams that it has been completed on time and on budget and is another example of the county council’s successful delivery of a major infrastructure project.

“Branston Locks is also further demonstration of effective close working between the county council, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, developers and other partners including the local parish council to further increase Staffordshire’s economic growth across the whole county and make it the right place for business investment and an attractive place to live and visit.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP executive board member James Leavesley said: “This road scheme has opened up a major development site, paving the way for new jobs, homes and community facilities.

“It is an excellent example of how we are working together across the public and private sectors to create new jobs, sustained economic growth and flourishing local communities. Branston Locks is one of a whole series of exciting new developments taking place across our region illustrating that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is an increasingly attractive place for businesses to locate and grow, and a great place to live.”

i54 South Staffordshire

County growth programme set to deliver 20,000 jobs on completed development projects and boost workplace skills

Posted by | i54 South Staffordshire, News, Redhill Business Park | No Comments

Business development and infrastructure projects so far completed by the county council as part of a decade-long growth project could see the creation of nearly 20,000 jobs.

The total value of the 15 projects completed since the growth programme began in in 2014 is £160million. Projects which are currently being carried out are valued at £204million – £15million of which is from direct county council investment.

With current (live) projects, for every £1 invested by the county council, £13.60 worth of private sector and other investment is levered in. So far on the completed sites such as i54 South Staffordshire and Redhill Business Park there are already 6,650 people working or jobs have been committed.

In addition to creating employment in Staffordshire, the sites attract additional investment, boost supply chain industries and contribute to public services through increased business rates.

The completed employment sites generate around £9 million worth of total business rates per annum – half of which is returned back to central government. It is anticipated that completed and planned developments will eventually generate £30million in business rates.

In addition to the delivery of major business and infrastructure development, the county council’s growth programme includes support for existing businesses, the development of skills to meet the needs of employers and the roll-out of superfast fibre broadband.

The county council administers the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub on behalf of the local enterprise partnership (LEP). It gives support to small and medium sized businesses – including signposting them to funding opportunities and professional advice. Between May 2014 and May 2018 is has assisted over 6,000 businesses.

As a result of increased employment opportunities there is an increased need by businesses for skills in advanced manufacturing and engineering. An Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Hub is being delivered across six sites to provide state of the art learning facilities and equipment. It is supporting over 4,500 learners and adding millions to the local economy output.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “Our economic growth programme is delivering the creation of skilled jobs and millions of pounds worth of investment. It is a priority of the county council to ensure that there are increased employment opportunities in our key sectors with higher skilled, better paid jobs making us a more prosperous county,

“Before the current programme ends a further 17,000 jobs will be created and 4,500 trainees, learners or apprentices supported.

“In addition to delivering the infrastructure to pave the way for business development we will build our network of support for small businesses which employ 55 per cent of our workforce. This programme is helping us to ensure that we have a balanced and strong economy in Staffordshire.”

The economic growth programme report will be discussed at a meeting of the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee next week.

New annual plan to deliver council’s vision

Posted by | Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, News | No Comments

Residents in Stoke-on-Trent will see an increase in job opportunities, investment in transport and housing and a focus on education over the next financial year.

Council leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to creating a city that everyone can be proud of as part of the authority’s Stronger Together annual delivery plan for the next 12 months.

The plan sets out what the city council will achieve over the coming year, alongside how it will deliver the Stronger Together vision.

This is the third Stronger Together delivery plan and covers the financial year from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. It will go before cabinet members on June 26.

Highlighted within the plan is a commitment to creating and/or protecting at least 600 jobs through the development and expansion of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone. There are also plans to increase the number of apprenticeships in the city and the council.

Investment in housing and transport will also take place, with the development of the Reviving Communities empty homes scheme in the Portland Street area, and the creation of the Etruria Valley link road.

The annual delivery plan also detailed examples of activities and programmes of work which were successfully delivered in 2017-18. These included:

  • Beginning construction work on the Stoke-on-Trent District Heat Network, which will use geothermal hot water from deep underground to heat homes and businesses around the city centre.
  • Developing the Smithfield site in the city centre, with construction on the build-to-rent apartments having already begun, and work due to finish on the new 140-room, four-star Hilton Garden Inn hotel in 2019.
  • Being shortlisted for UK City of Culture status.

Deputy leader Councillor Abi Brown, the city council’s cabinet member for finance and partnerships, said: “Our Stronger Together delivery plan outlines what we aim to achieve within this financial year – as well as highlighting the successes we have already made so far.

“Key priorities for the council this year are education, employment and the development of a transport network to reduce congestion and support growth in the city. The delivery plan has a clear focus on these areas and we are committed to driving continuous improvement in performance alongside the day-to-day delivery of the full range of functions performed by the council.

“All of this fantastic work and more is being done for the good of residents, to support our communities. This will help to make our city a place where businesses want to come to, where people want to visit, and where we are serious about attracting investment.”

Businesses to share expertise at national networking event in Staffordshire

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Staffordshire companies of all sizes can meet business leaders and support experts from a range of organisations at a session held as part of a national corporate event.

The UK Corporate Games Business Networking Event will see business leaders from across the region attending from participating organisations. Support experts from Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership will also be on hand to offer advice.

Hosted by the Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire team, which leads on inward investment for the county and city areas, the networking event takes place on Saturday June 23 at Keele Hall near Newcastle from 1pm to 3pm.

The UK Corporate Games is Europe’s largest festival of sport for businesses. In 2017 a consortia of local partners won a highly competitive selection process to host this year’s event in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Corporate Games features 23 sports hosted at venues across the county. Over 4,000 competitors are expected to compete from all over the world representing companies such as bet365, Boots PLC, IMB, Intel, Lloyds Banking, Purple Sprout, Vanquis Bank and Vodafone.

Anyone attending the networking event will have the opportunity to watch some of the action from the many sports hosted at Keele University and enjoy key note addresses from David Moorcroft OBE, former Olympian and 5000m World Record holder and Paul Farmer OBE, Staffordshire Chambers President.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “The UK Corporate Games will bring representatives from some global business leaders to Staffordshire and provides us with another opportunity to showcase our county.

“This networking event will be beneficial for businesses of all sizes, bringing expert advice and industry knowledge that could make a difference to their future growth.

“I’d urge people to sign up and make the most of Staffordshire’s position as host to the Games.”

Anyone interested in attending should contact Sarah Bixter at, confirming names (maximum of two people per company) and any dietary requirements by Monday June 18.

People can find out more about the UK Corporate Games by visiting:

Midlands UK Pavilion

Commercial partners and civic leaders hail Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire MIPIM success

Posted by | Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, i54 South Staffordshire, Lichfield Park, News | No Comments

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire delegation has had its busiest ever year at international property show MIPIM The four-day event saw 70 one-to-one meetings with developers and investors, plus a series of special briefing events and seminars promoting investment opportunities in the area on a global stage.

MIPIM, which takes place in Cannes each year, is the largest gathering of senior leaders from all international property sectors, offering unrivalled access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide. The 2018 event attracted more than 26,000 delegates from more than 100 countries.

Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership joined forces with the nine other LEP areas and other partners across the Midlands Engine region within a Midlands UK pavilion at MIPIM, following a successful pilot at MIPIM 2017. The Midlands UK Pavilion welcomed more than 4,700 visitors, a 57per cent increase on 2017. More than 50 events were hosted by Midlands UK, including panel discussions and showcase presentations, featuring almost 100 speakers from both the public and private sectors.

A total of 68 commercial partners, including the region’s property community, major businesses, airports, science and tech parks, and local universities were involved in Midlands events. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s commercial partners and sponsors included Stoford Developments, Wardell Armstrong, Siemens, Gleeds, Nordic Heat, Staffordshire University, Faithful and Gould, VXFIBER, Network Space, Knights 1759, Solarplicity, A&J Mucklow, Harworth Group and CWC Group.

In addition, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire team held more than 70 one-to-one meetings with commercial and residential developers, property investors, and decision-makers within government.

Siemens project development director Tim Lowe commented: “I was delighted to be able to participate alongside the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire delegation at MIPIM.  We’ve been very impressed by their ambition, collaborative spirit, and willingness to embrace new technology. This is already leading to some exciting developments in the energy sector in Stoke-on-Trent, and we are working hard to develop further projects in addition to the landmark schemes that are already under way.”

Stoford Developments director Tony Nash commented: “We certainly got great benefit from promoting our development experience in Staffordshire to a wider property market and also sharing investment ideas with both the public and private sector.

“Opportunities for investing in both Staffordshire and Stoke were brought to the fore of our investment plans and without the private-public communication offered by MIPIM we certainly would not have as clear an understanding of the opportunities in Staffordshire.”

CWC Group director Marc Freeman said: “It has been an excellent MIPIM this year, extremely well supported across the board. The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire presence was as strong as ever, with an ever-growing realisation of investment and development which we are proud to sponsor and be a part of in the Ceramic Valley with our land ownerships and developments over the last 12 months.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “This was the most successful MIPIM yet for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. We reaped the benefits of joining forces with the rest of the Midlands region in a Midlands UK pavilion, which raised our profile and led to a dramatic increase in the number of visitors. We were able to achieve a much bigger impact while still retaining our own distinctive identity, and promoted our area with a range of successful and very well attended events.

“It is very important that we keep a continuing flow of new investment into Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and promote growth opportunities to a national and global audience, so that we can create more and better jobs for local people.

“Our central location makes this a great place to live, work, invest and do business, and we made a very impressive case to international investors.”

Stafford Borough Council leader Councillor Patrick Farrington said: “So many comments were made about how ideally placed the borough was geographically, and our excellent accessibility, that Stafford was described by one investor as a ‘hidden gem’. Following our presentations at MIPIM we are no longer hidden!

“The importance of securing commercial investment to create employment opportunities and to enhance the residential development offer to those who are looking to buy or rent in our borough cannot be overstated. The event has proved successful for our community in the past, with the investment by Jaguar Land Rover in Stone coming on the back of a previous visit.”

Councillor Abi Brown, Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader, said: “We were able to showcase the excellent opportunities that our city has to offer to hundreds of developers, investors, partners, influencers and government decision makers. MIPIM is a unique opportunity to do this, to shout about Stoke-on-Trent on a global scale.

“We have prime development-ready sites for investors, backed-up by a team who provide tailor-made solutions to smooth the process for businesses to locate here. We have first-class connectivity across the country and some of the cheapest land and set-up costs in the UK. We showed delegates our ambition and confidence in the city with a serious of bold development opportunities, supported by a wide range of public and private sector partners. We have had several strong enquiries already, less than a week on, and will look forward to these being progressed.”

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “This year’s MIPIM has been a resounding success. The feedback from delegates has been really encouraging and our LEP contingent presented a strong case for investing in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

“Personally I was pleased to launch the Wolverhampton-Staffordshire High Growth Zone which is fast becoming a leading national business hub with transport connections that will be second to none. This was in addition to the Stafford Gateway project – transforming the county town’s economy through employment, housing and leisure development with improved connections through HS2.

“MIPIM has again provided us with an unrivalled opportunity to showcase Staffordshire to global investors and show that we are key drivers in the Midlands Engine. Together we have been able to demonstrate how the region is the economic powerhouse of the UK and that our county is playing a major part in boosting productivity in the Midlands.”

The MIPIM events the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire team were involved with included:

  • The M54 Wolverhampton – Staffordshire High Growth Zone Launch hosted by Councillor Mark Winnington (Staffordshire County Council) and Tim Johnson (Wolverhampton City Council). The Growth Zone has the potential to deliver more than 11m sq ft of floor space and 20,000 jobs over 15 sites, including i54, Wobaston Park, Wolverhampton Business Park, ROF Featherstone, Mercury Park and Vernon Park, and Four Ashes Park.
  • Midlands Showcase presentation on Stafford Gateway and the New Garden Settlement hosted by Councillor Patrick Farrington (leader, Stafford Borough Council) and Councillor Winnington. This provided an update on progress, including the project’s inclusion in the Midlands Engine Investment Portfolio.
  • Midlands Panel Session on ‘Using innovative thinking to unlock investment and accelerate development plans’. Councillor Abi Brown (deputy leader, Stoke-on-Trent City Council) participated in the panel alongside Nick Taylor (KPMG), Deborah Cadman (WMCA), Martin Reeves (Coventry City Council) and Anthony McCourt (Court Collaboration).
  • Midlands Showcase presentation on the Stoke-on-Trent Station Masterplan, University Quarter and Spode Works hosted by Councillor Brown. This included an announcement on potential options for the redevelopment of the Swift House site.
  • Midlands Panel Session on ‘How can the Midlands create the quantity and quality of homes needed?’ David Frost, Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP participated in the panel alongside Tom Purnell (Leicestershire County Council), Tim Downing (Pygott & Crone), Owen Michaelson (Harworth Group), Stephen Pratt (Godwin Developments) & Tom Shaw (Ramboll).
  • Midlands Panel Session on Stoke-on-Trent and Energy Securitisation hosted by David Frost. The panel included Councillor Abi Brown, Richard Watts (VXFiber), Peter Anderberg (Nordic Heat), Tim Day (Solarplicity) and Tim Lowe (Siemens). Each gave presentations on their work supporting the City Council’s plans to become a smart and sustainable city.

There were four events in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire apartment focusing on Stafford Gateway/New Garden Settlement, the Stoke-on-Trent Station Masterplan and Stoke-on-Trent Smart Sustainable City, plus an opening reception on Monday evening which welcomed over 100 delegates.

  • Tuesday evening – ‘Delivering a new County Town Through HS2; Stafford Gateway and Stafford New Garden Settlement’. This included presentations by Councillor Patrick Farrington and Duncan Sutherland (HS2).
  • Wednesday morning – ‘Stoke-on-Trent Station Masterplan, University Quarter & Spode Works’. This included presentations by Councillor Abi Brown, Professor Martin Jones (Staffordshire University) and Duncan Sutherland (HS2).
  • Wednesday evening – ‘Building a Smart Sustainable City for Stoke-on-Trent’. This included presentations by Tim Lowe (Siemens), Tim Day (Solarplicity), Peter Anderberg (Nordic Heat) and Richard Watts (VXFIBER).

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP dinner was attended by a full house of 30 people from a range of sponsors, public sector partners, developers and professional service providers. These included Wardell Armstrong, Gleeds, Network Space, Stoford Developments, Knights LLP, Faithful and Gould, Solarplicity, VX Fiber, HS2 Growth Partnership, Staffordshire University, Harworth Estates, Siemens, Hilton Hotels, Nordic Heat, Öresundskraft and the Midlands Engine. The discussion during the dinner was chaired by David Frost with significant contributions from Councillors Farrington, Winnington and Brown.

Staffordshire employment site fully occupied as latest development starts

Posted by | Bericote Four Ashes, News | No Comments

Work has started on the latest development at a Staffordshire business park which will site over 1,000 jobs and forms part of a high growth zone near the M54.

This week Midlands developer First Pannatoni began its 440,000 sq ft speculative unit at the Four Ashes Business Park in South Staffordshire which means the site is now fully occupied. Four Ashes is already home to leading automotive parts supplier Gestamp, which started operations on site last year.

Sited off the A449, the 52-acre Four Ashes site provides 900,000 sq ft industrial floor space and forms part of the Wolverhampton Staffordshire High Growth Zone, which was launched at the MIPIM international property event this month.

Staffordshire County Council carried out the essential access works for Four Ashes, paving the way for new business and jobs. The project was funded by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership including a £1.9million allocation from the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

It included the creation of a traffic signalled junction on the A449. In addition, new pedestrian crossings were installed and pedestrian and cycle routes improved.

County council finance leader Mike Sutherland, who met developers at Four Ashes this week said:

First Pannatoni’s development getting under way is further demonstration of investor confidence in Staffordshire and of the county’s continued successful economic growth.

The county council, working with the local enterprise partnership, delivered the essential access infrastructure to Four Ashes Business Park which paved the way for development. We have a global sector leader with Gestamp operational and this latest development will see the site full.

Four Ashes is just one of the sites the county council has been involved with since 2014 where there has been £400million of completed, ongoing and planned investment – ultimately leading to the creation of up to 13,000 jobs. This is more good news for Staffordshire and demonstrates that we are very much open for business.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said:

The Four Ashes development is further proof that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is proving to be a very attractive location to do business. Our can-do attitude and strong partnerships across the public and private sectors are opening up development opportunities and creating a welcoming environment that enables businesses to grow and flourish.

The availability of great sites such as Four Ashes, our central location, good transport links and skilled workforce are proving a strong combination in attracting and retaining businesses.”

Royal Opening for £50m Palletforce SuperHub

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HRH The Princess Royal is to officially open Palletforce’s new £50m SuperHub on Thursday 5 October, exactly eight years after visiting to open the original distribution hub at the company’s Burton upon Trent site.

The 620,000 sq ft custom-built facility is the largest of its type in Europe and is capable of handling 30,000 pallets of freight every night.

When fully operational it is expected to create around 70 new jobs locally within Palletforce itself and an estimated 700 across the express distribution firm’s wider network.

It will also allow Palletforce to extend its Apprenticeship Academy, giving young people the first step towards a career in logistics, while state-of-the-art conference facilities will also be available to local companies.

In addition to first-class warehousing, the 38-acre site has 450 truck parking spaces, while single-shift sortation allows for faster turnaround and creates extended delivery windows for member collection and delivery vehicles.

Palletforce is a great British success story. Since HRH The Princess Royal last visited in 2008, Palletforce has expanded its staff from 80 to 400 and turnover has grown from £8m to £100m.

Michael Conroy, Palletforce chief executive officer, said: “We are thrilled to welcome back HRH The Princess Royal for what is the start of a new era for Palletforce.

“We’ve come a long way from our modest facilities of the past and the new £50m SuperHub represents an emphatic expression of confidence in our future – the latest in a line of significant investments in our network.

“No other pallet or distribution network in the UK has shown the ability to take such a significant step to create capacity, facilitate growth and ensure the future success of its membership and network.”

Since its acquisition by EmergeVest in 2015, Palletforce has invested over £65 million across its network – in infrastructure, technology, acquisitions and people.

In addition to benefiting from the latest technology and software, the new building has enhanced environmental features. Rainwater will be harvested for external taps and toilet flushing, all lighting will be automatically switched LED and the SuperHub will offer electric car charging points.

DM Supplier Readiness promo  image

Drive Midlands Supplier Readiness Event

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Drive Midlands Supplier Readiness Event

Date: Tuesday October 17 2017

Venue: Coventry Transport Museum, Millennium Place, Hale Street, Coventry, CV1 1JD

Time: 08:00 – 12:30

The automotive sector in the Midlands is probably in many ways in a stronger position than it has been for years. We are seeing vehicle manufacturers grow and commit to future model programmes for UK build. New technologies are being developed at a pace we could only dream of a few years ago.

Questions we are often asked by companies are ‘how can we increase our automotive business?’ or ‘how can we get into automotive?’

To explore these issues, Drive Midlands has assembled a group of senior people from within the automotive industry to share their insights on the latest automotive opportunities and how to get into better shape to capitalise on them.

The event will take place on Tuesday October 17, 2017, 08:00 – 12:30 at Coventry Transport Museum.

The agenda will cover:

  • Which vehicle manufacturers are increasing UK sourcing
  • How to become more competitive
  • Skills development
  • Funding for growth

Who should attend?

Managing Directors, Sales and Business Development Directors and Managers of companies currently supplying or with an ambition to supply the automotive industry at all tiers.


This event is free to attend and it would be great if you could join us. However, due to limited capacity, we would urge you to register to confirm your attendance as soon as possible.

Tickets can be found here

Joining instructions will be sent to the delegates one week before the event.

For more information please contact Drive Midlands


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