A Staffordshire business which was involved in the development of one of the county’s leading employment sites has backed plans for its extension.
The western extension plans for i54 South Staffordshire have now been submitted to the district council. If approved, it would mean one large or several smaller employers could deliver 2,700 jobs on site and generate £600million investment.
Aggregates and waste material solution firm FGD, which is based in Wombourne, is supporting the extension plans for i54 South Staffordshire having worked on the original site construction.
The business has taken on 11 new employees since its involvement with i54 South Staffordshire. It has also developed three apprentices who all live within five miles of its Wombourne headquarters.
FGD’s work during construction involved removing 200,000 tonnes of soil from the site and taking on 200,000 tonnes of stone. It also removed contaminated soil which was processed and reused – saving £500,000 in tip costs.
Since it took on the i54 South Staffordshire contract in 2012, FGD has seen its annual turnover increase from £9m to £23m. The i54 contract has directly contributed between £6m and £7m. This has allowed the company to invest in new technology to improve efficiency.
FGD is now looking forward to further growth plans and local expansion, taking on more employees and apprentices. It has a second office in Rugby and customers across the country.
The company used a Wombourne business to livery its vehicles, a local business to design its website and a building firm from Kinver to expand its offices.
Spencer Davies, director of FGD, said: “FGD Limited firmly believes in investment in local people and promoting within. This core ethos only happens when growth happens locally to. Such further investment into the i54 site will allow this to continue for many years.”
More than £1 billion has so far been invested in the current i54 site, with 2,500 people employed by multi-national companies JLR, Moog, ISP, Eurofins, ERA and Tentec with a further 2,100 jobs anticipated over the next few years. Over 3,500 students have also benefitted from a targeted skills and education programme.
i54 and its expansion play an integral part of the Midlands Engine strategy to maximise the economic potential of the area. It is also backed by both the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnerships and local businesses.
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “The success of i54 South Staffordshire has been outstanding – attracting global leaders in their sectors and thousands of skilled jobs.
“While we celebrate the fact that these businesses are located here, i54 South Staffordshire has a huge impact across our area as the experience of FGD demonstrates.
“From construction firms to supply chain industries and retail and leisure establishments; this business park leads to a thriving local, regional and national economy and all the opportunities that brings for local business and people.
“We are proud of how the local government partnership worked together to achieve this and we have been rightly recognised by Government and the business community.
“It is therefore no surprise about the demand to locate here – and the subsequent need for expansion. i54 South Staffordshire will play a vital part in the Midlands Engine and in the growing productivity of Staffordshire and our neighbours.”
City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said: “i54 is one of the UK’s premier advanced manufacturing business parks.
“Our joint investment at i54 has secured hundreds of millions of pounds of further investment and has brought thousands of jobs to the area, with 40 per cent of employees living within a ten-mile radius.
“Demand is high for more accommodation from potential investors and the western extension will enable us to deliver that for the benefit of local residents and businesses.”
More information about the extension plans can be found at www.i54online.com/westernextension