Business backs plans for employment site’s major extension

Posted by | i54 South Staffordshire, News | No Comments

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

Work starts on city centre Hilton Garden Inn development

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Ground has been broken on the brand-new Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Stoke-on-Trent, part of the landmark Smithfield development – signalling a key milestone in the continued regeneration of the city centre.

Construction machinery has been moved onto the site as work takes place to create the foundations for the £20 million development, which will create dozens of jobs, provide a new high-quality accommodation offer for business and leisure visitors to the city and boost the local economy.

The 140-bed four-star Hilton Garden Inn is the first Hilton branded hotel in the city and is being delivered in a partnership between Genr8 Developments and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The ground-breaking for the hotel comes just three months after building work started on an 11-storey city centre residential development on the same site.

Cllr Ann James, leader of the city council, said: “This hotel development is another clear indicator that Stoke-on-Trent is changing for the better. We need more hotel accommodation in the city centre if we are to develop as a progressive, vibrant city. When you compare us to places of similar sizes, it has been an area where we have fallen short in the past but we are addressing that now.

“To have a hotel offer like this coming to Stoke-on-Trent shows the growing confidence there is in the city from investors and the private sector. We’re delighted to have Hilton Garden Inn here in Stoke-on-Trent – the fact they want to bring their name and brand to the city speaks volumes for the direction we are heading in as a city, and it will help to attract further investment from other companies.

“When you combine the Smithfield hotel and apartment developments with all the public realm work that has taken place, and the planned improvements to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, it’s a very exciting time for our city. These are landmark schemes which are creating a new direction and future for Stoke-on-Trent, and seeing millions of pounds invested to drive and accelerate regeneration.

“The apartments will give the city centre a significant amount of residents in one location, who will increase footfall, support the local businesses and lead to further investment. The hotel is a completely new offer for the business and leisure market which will draw more people in and only further bolster the area’s economic strength.”

The hotel, due to be completed in late 2019, will include a gym, restaurant and bar and extensive meeting room facilities which will be available for hire.

Richard Ingham, partner at Genr8 Developments, said: “We’re delighted to announce that construction works have officially begun on the new Hilton Garden Inn, and are excited to be bringing the Hilton name to Stoke-on-Trent. Our decision to own as well as develop the new hotel signifies our confidence in both the Hilton brand and the demand for a new high-quality hotel in the city centre.

“Reaching this important milestone is testament to all of the partners involved in particular the city council and Hilton. Stoke-on-Trent is a city on the up and the new hotel will be an important addition for both the business and tourism industries in the region.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership has provided a financial contribution for the hotel development, showing leadership and intent by the city council and the LEP to drive the economy and accelerate growth in the city.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “The start of construction work on Stoke-on-Trent’s Hilton Garden Inn hotel is excellent news for this ambitious city. Expanding and enhancing Stoke-on-Trent’s hotel sector has been a long-term aspiration of the LEP and the city council and it is good to see this new hotel taking shape.

“A growing range of tourism, cultural and leisure destinations is developing in and around the city, making this an increasingly attractive destination for visitors and this new hotel will be a great addition to accommodation in the area.”


Work to Start On McArthurGlen’s Cannock Designer Outlet

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McArthurGlen, Europe’s leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, has confirmed that construction of the £160 million designer outlet in Cannock will commence this month, beginning with site preparation and earth works.

Cannock Chase District Council granted planning approval for a designer outlet at Mill Green in September 2016 following extensive consultations with the local community. In December 2017 McArthurGlen announced a joint venture with Aviva Investors (on behalf of Aviva Life and Pensions), The Richardson Family and U+I to develop Cannock Designer Outlet, which will span 285,000 sq. ft. of retail space across two phases. The development will become the Group’s 26th centre, and their seventh in the UK.

This £160 million investment will create a landmark retail destination and community hub for Cannock and the West Midlands, generating 1,000 jobs for the local area. Due to complete in 2020, Phase I will be home to 80 sought-after premium and luxury brands offering year-round savings of up to 60%, a selection of restaurants and cafes, a children’s play area, bike parking for cyclists  and 1,400 car parking spaces.

Cannock Designer Outlet will also deliver an additional £1.5 million investment in various projects that will bring significant benefits to the local community. This investment programme will include the enhancement and ongoing maintenance of the Mill Green Nature Park, improvements to Cannock Town Centre and the railway station, and support for developing skills and employment prospects for local people.

Gary Bond, Joint Managing Director of Development at McArthurGlen, said: “We are thrilled to start construction on this milestone development for Cannock. The new centre will generate significant employment for the local area and create a new retail destination for the region, serving 11 million local residents. Cannock Designer Outlet will be built to the highest standards of architectural design and sustainability, reflecting and respecting the surrounding natural landscape.”

Councillor George Adamson, Leader of Cannock Chase Council said: “The reality of creating one of the most significant things to happen in the district in recent memory is definitely here now, with this exciting news. As construction commences we will be working closely with McArthurGlen to ensure that disruption is kept to the minimum for our residents, as we progress to a development we can all be very proud about.”

Derbyshire based construction company Bowmer & Kirkland has been appointed to deliver the scheme.

104-bed Stoke-on-Trent city centre hotel given the green light

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Stoke-on-Trent City Council has granted planning permission for a 104-bed hotel in the city centre – which will create 30 jobs.

Members of the planning committee today gave the green light for the development on Clementsons Mill car park, on Clough Street. No objections were received to the plans, which propose a six-storey hotel with bar and restaurant, 64 parking spaces, and a flexible space for businesses or an ‘apart-hotel’ on the top floor.

Applicant Visk Ventures Ltd told the committee they are in talks with two potential operators, with both very keen to take on the development and move to the city centre.

Following an hour-long discussion, councillors voted to approve the plans. They agreed the development was a high-quality scheme which would improve the hotel offer in the city centre, showed how strong private sector confidence is in the city and would further bolster the area’s economic strength.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “Having a lack of a good range of short stay and hotel accommodation in the city centre has been something which has held us back in the past. We have a Premier Inn which is currently expanding due to its popularity, work due to start imminently on a Hilton Garden Inn and now this development.

“These developments will not only change the city centre offer and the skyline for the next 50 years or more, they will also give a massive boost to our visitor economy and enable more people to visit and stay. This is great news for our businesses, not just in the city centre but for Stoke-on-Trent overall. The developments are also creating new jobs for our residents, so it’s a good, positive story all round.

“This is sending out exactly the right message – that Stoke-on-Trent is open for business, that we are an attractive investment opportunity for developers and a unique visitor destination, too. Having private developers  and investors wanting to invest and build in our city is exactly what this administration is working hard to achieve – a progressive, developing and vibrant city for everyone.”

Martin Bose Flatvision

Businesses celebrate ten-year anniversary of enterprise centre

Posted by | Lymedale Park Cross, News | No Comments

Martin Bose, director of Flat Vision.

Small businesses based at one of Staffordshire County Council’s enterprise centres have been celebrating ten years of its provision of commercial space to aid growth.

Lymedale Business Centre in Newcastle opened in 2008 and is now home to 36 small businesses, offering a broad range of goods and services.

Across the county there are eight enterprise centres, offering both office, workshop and industrial units to small businesses. The office units are let on flexible short-term tenancy arrangements and offer a range of facilities including meeting rooms, parking and networking opportunities. Lymedale is now connected to fibre broadband through the county council’s Superfast Staffordshire programme.

Among the Lymedale businesses are Flat Vision – which provides LCD displays for many sectors including health organisations, industry, military and leisure. Network Rail, Marks & Spencer, the Royal Navy, Stoke City FC and Centre Parcs are among its customers.

Company director Martin Bose said: “In our previous premises we were fragmented. “Here at Lymedale the business support is fantastic and the facilities are second to none. When we need to have client meetings, this is a great place to do it.

“There is a community of small businesses in this building which provides great networking opportunities. We are currently recruiting and we know that with the flexible tenancy arrangements, expansion is possible. And it is important to us to be located in Staffordshire. We’re in the heart of the country and we employ local skills; including our programme of bringing in interns from Keele University.”

Luminite ICT provides ICT, phone systems and communications support. Its director Lyndon Eaton said: “We provide ICT and phone systems and have contracts with over half of the businesses at Lymedale, so being located here is important. The facilities here are excellent and really help to take some of the headaches of running a business.

“The manned reception means we don’t have to worry about delivery times. We can gain access to the building 24/7 and it is very secure. Flexible tenancies are important to us. It means we don’t have to commit to lengthy agreements and we soon hope to expand.”

Peter Brough is CEO of Cybernautix, a web design and online marketing company.

He said: “Originally we were home based, but as we grew it became more important to be somewhere we can bring our clients as a professional business.

“There is a massive advantage in having a flexible tenancy – we have a rolling contract which means low investment and it takes the pressure off, allowing us to focus on growing the business. Being in a building with other small businesses is helpful and there is a lot of networking opportunities.”

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader said: “Lymedale Business Centre is home to 36 thriving small businesses providing a range of goods and services, creating jobs and playing an important part in our economic growth.

“They are innovative enterprises and I am pleased that our centre has provided suitable premises to enable their successful operations and continued growth.

“Our enterprise centres are attractive to businesses as they provide the facilities they need in addition to flexible short-term tenancies which remove any worry about committing to long agreements. We’re pleased that Lymedale has been providing support to small businesses in Staffordshire for a decade now.”

(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.”

Planned Expansion of Keele IT Company

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Local IT specialist SyTech IT continues its expansion plans with move to larger premises and increase in personnel. The company founded in late 2015 by Darren Kirby started in Darren’s home on Biddulph Moor. The company them moved to the Nova Centre at Keele University Science and Innovation Park and has since taken on two more staff.

SyTech aims to support companies to grow their businesses by providing bespoke IT solutions. To cope with the intended increase in workload SyTech hopes to move to larger premises in Keele’s iC6 building and double their workforce.

Managing director Darren said: “We are starting to get everything in place to take the business forward. We have outgrown our previous office and we made the decision to move into a new space so we can develop even more.

“We want to create new jobs and high-value employment.

“Our success over the last few years has been down to a mixture of things, but for me, I stand by the saying that you should do something every day which takes the business forward. That is a lesson I have learned over the years, and it is an important one.”

Darren added: “We also want to streamline our services and move into the more specialist area of information data security for the manufacturing and distribution sectors. We want to make that our main focus of the business because there is a demand there, but at the same time we want to develop into a new area, offering out-sourced IT security solutions to businesses.

“At the moment we work with customers across the UK from Newcastle to Birmingham, but we are keen to work with more local businesses and those within a 90-minute drive of Keele.”

SyTech IT will be among dozens of businesses showcasing their services at the Let’s Do Business Expo at Uttoxeter Racecourse next Thursday, June 28th.

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:

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