Stafford Borough Council announce ambitious plans

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Proposals have been announced by Stafford Borough Council’s Chief Executive, Tim Clegg, at MIPIM UK 2017 for an ambitious new garden settlement to maximize the potential benefits of HS2. A hundred hectare site has been earmarked, 10 miles north of Stafford, near to the villages of Coldmeece and Millmeece.

Stafford is to be the only HS2 station between Birmingham and Crewe with a proposed new station located next to the town centre.

Mr. Clegg said: “The biggest opportunity is for a future garden settlement in the northern part of the borough.

“We have already got to the stage of putting in a HIF [Housing Infrastructure Fund] bid to the Government.

The plans include a potential new junction on the M6, between junctions 14 and 15, and a new station on the West Coast main line.

“Stafford borough is ambitious,” he added. “We have a track record of delivery, we have brought in significant investment.

“We have a wide range if development opportunities. We believe they are exciting and we want to make them happen.”

Burton Gateway_BG87 (5)_sml

Plans Submitted for Burton Gateway

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St Modwen have announced  plans for almost 120,000 sq. ft. of industrial space at their Burton Gateway site on the A38.

Plans have been submitted to East Staffordshire Borough council for the construction of three units of 54,000 sq. ft., 40,000 sq. ft. and 25,000 sq. ft. ; all suitable for storage, distribution or general industrial use.

Phase 1 of this site was the construction of an 87,000 sq. ft. unit which has been let to Hellmann Worldwide Logistics on a ten-year lease.

Ian Romano, development director at St Modwen, said: “There is a lack of new employment space across the Midlands, and we are building speculatively at a number of our key developments to satisfy the growing need for high quality and well connected space.

“With outline planning consent for up to one million sq. ft. of commercial business space, it is our intention to speculatively build this next phase to accommodate demand from both national and local occupiers.”

Subject to planning permission, works are expected to start in January 2018, with units available from August 2018.

Masterplan unveiled for Stoke-on-Trent station

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A masterplan outlining the vision for the future of Stoke-on-Trent railway station has been unveiled.

The plan, announced at the MIPIM UK property conference, builds on regeneration and development work taking place across the city, and outlines how the station has the potential to become a key transport hub not just for the city, but for the wider region.

A series of potential developments to the station, and the land surrounding it, have been drawn up to cover the next 25 years, with later phases centred on the huge impact High Speed 2 (HS2) would bring to Stoke-on-Trent. They have been developed with key partners including Network Rail, who own the station, and train operators. The improvements are in response to the estimated growth in rail travel in the future, the city’s own growth plans and making sure Stoke-on-Trent is in a prime position to reap the benefits that HS2 will bring.

HS2 Ltd is encouraging local authorities to start considering masterplans which look not only at how stations will change, but also provide a vision for economic growth in the surrounding area. By unveiling its plan, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has moved forward ahead of the game.

Assuming the minimum of two HS2 trains an hour that the city council is campaigning for, the masterplan envisages building two new platforms at the Grade-II listed station, a new north entrance and concourse and commercial/residential developments on land surrounding the station.

Other potential improvements put forward as part of the masterplan include a new multi-storey car park; scope for a hotel development; re-routing the majority of traffic away from Station Road to make it a more pedestrian-friendly area; promoting residential-led developments alongside the canal and creating an iconic bridge across the canal and A500 to connect the station to Stoke town centre, the fast-emerging Spode development and the city centre.

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage at the city council, said: “Stoke-on-Trent railway station has some fantastic buildings with real heritage and character. There is huge potential here to increase passenger numbers, improve on-station facilities and drive regeneration and development across the surrounding area.

“This is about us starting to look now at what is needed to make the station a key transport hub for the region that builds on the city’s own investment and is ready for the game-changer that will be HS2. A bigger, better station ready for the transport and associated demands we know the future will bring can act as a catalyst for the area, bringing with it economic benefits for the whole city.

“The masterplan is a first step towards securing funding – it highlights our aspirations for the station and our city and sets a quality threshold and an outline development plan to stimulate and guide future investment. There is a real opportunity here to not only transform the station but also some of the land surrounding it with commercial, leisure and residential developments, which will bring with them jobs and growth.

“Stoke-on-Trent is changing rapidly and there is a real confidence about the city now, which is being shown in investments at key sites like Spode and the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.”

The masterplan has been jointly funded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and The Constellation Partnership – of which the authority is one of nine members – comprising a group of councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships across Staffordshire and Cheshire which are working together to drive investment to the area.

With HS2, Stoke-on-Trent would have rapid connections to both Birmingham and Manchester as well as a journey time of less than an hour to central London.

Duncan Sutherland, a non-executive director on the board of HS2 Ltd, welcomed the development of a masterplan for Stoke-on-Trent rail station.

Speaking at MIPIM UK, he said: “It’s really important local authorities get their act together now. I remember going to Lille in the late 1970s when it was a very poor place and all the industries had gone. What the mayor did was get all the local authorities together and lobbied to get the high speed line from London to Paris and Brussels to go through Lille. And because they started early, Lille is now the third biggest business centre in the whole of France. They put that down almost entirely to being in the centre between Paris, Brussels and London, and I see Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe and Stafford all in that kind of same situation between Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London.

“The Constellation Partnership is incredibly important to the UK. It’s right in the middle of our HS2 network between the North West and the Midlands and therefore has the ability to be a really big economic driver. There’s no point in building a railway unless you get economic growth, and you need the mechanisms locally that can come together as partnerships to help drive that growth forward, which is about housing, education, and right across the board.

“Masterplans have to be about more than just the station. Economic growth won’t just come from the stations – the stations are the catalysts. Therefore it’s about what happens around the stations that is going to be incredibly important. Masterplans have to cover a fairly wide area and show how development is going to happen. It’s really important that HS2 works with local authorities and that councils are driving it forward for their own communities.”

The city council has worked on the masterplan with Mott McDonald, a global engineering and development consultancy.

Kevin Riley, projects director for transport at Mott McDonald, said: “Through a confident re-imagination of the assets of Stoke-on-Trent, combined with the potential of new and improved infrastructure including HS2, Stoke-on-Trent is on the cusp of a generation of change with an outcome of quality of life, employment and investment opportunities that is second to none.

“HS2 is clearly a major pump primer and it will make the city an even more competitive destination for business and commuters, the aspiration for achievement in every sector will be raised and we predict it will boost the economy and job numbers.”

Stoke-on-Trent enters into new energy partnership

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Stoke-on-Trent has entered into a partnership with the Swedish city of Helsingborg to work together on developing energy systems for the future – and maximise economic opportunities for both areas.

Representatives from the two cities met at the Swedish Embassy in London earlier today, to establish the Smart Energy Alliance alongside the Swedish Energy Agency, which reports to the country’s Ministry of Environment and Energy. The event was also attended by a number of key partners including Siemens, Heatnet and Nordic Heat, VenturaNext, Solarplicity, Staffordshire and Keele Universities, who are all backing the partnership.

The partners are working to deliver a range of energy solutions which will improve the resilience and affordability of energy in Stoke-on-Trent. Siemens are working in the city to deliver energy efficiency measures and collaborate in the development of pioneering energy solutions for business. Solarplicity are hoping to provide significant solar power opportunities and savings for residents in the city, and VenturaNext are looking to provide next generation fibre optic data services.

Last month Stoke-on-Trent City Council started installation of the first of four kilometres of piping in its innovative district heat network, to bring a network of sustainable, low carbon and low cost heat energy to the city. The proposals, which won multi-million pound investment through the government’s City Deal, will go on to see 18 kilometres of piping laid underground across the city. Helsingborg, one of the fastest growing cities in Sweden, expects its population to grow by 40,000 by 2035 and is placing itself at the forefront of Sweden’s environmental and climate-related issues. The city has over 50 years’ experience in the field, and the alliance will ensure Stoke-on-Trent maximises the benefits and minimises any potential problems with its district heat project.                                                                                                                                The alliance, agreed at an event as part of MIPIM UK, will see both cities extend their close and successful cooperation related to heat networks, with the goal of acting as a catalyst for economic growth and attracting further investment in the region, as well as developing new areas for innovation and education.

Councillor Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “It’s a very exciting time for the city right now with the first pipes being laid in our pioneering heat network. We are fast becoming a centre of excellence for energy systems development, and are leading the way in the delivery of affordable energy and clean growth. We want to transform the city over the next 30 years with an energy revolution that will support site development, skills, innovation, new homes and new jobs.”

Councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader of the city council, said: “The fact that we are joining an alliance with Helsingborg and the Swedish Energy Agency, who are at the forefront of developing sustainable energy systems in Scandinavia, shows how far we have come with our work in Stoke-on-Trent and the high regard for what we are doing here is viewed at an international level.

“By joining forces, we will be able to share ideas, learn from one another and promote investment opportunities. As our projects progress, there will be fantastic opportunities for local companies to get involved in the supply chain.”

Ann-Sofi Gaverstedt, senior advisor for international affairs at Swedish Energy Agency, said: “To be able to transform our Swedish energy system into a low carbon system we need to work internationally. We need to share experiences, bring back new ideas and innovation and create partnerships across academia, businesses and the public sectors to make the shift happen.

“We have identified Stoke-on-Trent as one of the frontrunners in the UK when it comes to transforming your own energy system. We also share the same vision around creating opportunities for the growth of the economy and jobs.

“We are keen to work with Stoke-on-Trent to follow and learn from their development, bring back new innovations and to create new partnerships for low carbon economic growth. I hope that the cooperation so far between Sweden and Stoke-on-Trent in developing heat networks and the launch of an energy alliance are only some of the first steps towards a closer cooperation in other areas. I also look forward to more cities and organisations joining our alliance.”

Festival Way Link

Plans unveiled for major new road into Stoke-on-Trent city centre

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Plans have been submitted for a £40 million project to create a new road between the A500 and Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre.

The scheme involves building a new link from the Wolstanton junction of the A500 to Festival Way in Etruria Valley, including bridges and a roundabout.

Wolstanton Roundabout West

Wolstanton Roundabout West

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s scheme will reduce congestion, create better access, and improve safety. The work will also help to attract investment, create new jobs, and complement the key Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone development area.

The news comes as representatives from Stoke-on-Trent visited MIPIM UK – the country’s largest property trade show – to tell leading developers about the huge benefits Stoke-on-Trent can offer to businesses.


The Etruria Valley Link Road scheme will include:

  • Improving the two roundabouts at the Wolstanton junction;
  • A new viaduct crossing over the West Coast mainline;
  • A central roundabout linking Shelton Boulevard, Newport Lane and Festival Way;
  • Replacing the canal bridge at Newport Lane;
  • A new canal bridge crossing to Festival Way;
  • An extension to Shelton Boulevard.
Viaduct Crossing Approaching Internal Roundabout

Viaduct Crossing Approaching Internal Roundabout

The scheme will also include three junction improvements: • The creation of a mini roundabout at the junction of Grange Lane and Church Lane; • Road widening at Newport Lane between the junction of Maddock Street and Furlong Lane; • Enlarging the Marina Way roundabout at Festival Park.

If the planning application is successful, main work on the Etruria Valley link road project is expected to start in summer 2018 and be completed towards the end of 2019.

Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage at the city council, said: “The Etruria Valley link road will reduce congestion and improve journey times by creating a new route into the city centre. This improved access is something that will support our businesses to thrive and continue the push to make our city a great place to live and work.

“It is vital that our transport network is able meet the area’s needs for new homes and jobs, and this link road will provide extra capacity to help achieve this. It will be one of the key factors in our plans to help increase the prosperity of the city and ensure Stoke-on-Trent can fulfil its potential.”

David Frost, chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Etruria Valley is an important employment site in a prime position next to the A500. This new link road will be vital in opening up the site, encouraging businesses to invest and bringing thousands of new jobs to the area, a top priority for the LEP.

“We want to capitalise on this fantastic location at the centre of the country by creating the better paid, highly skilled jobs that will help our economy flourish.

“The road will also reduce congestion and improve access, making travelling around Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme easier and bringing more vigour to the city centre.”

Gestamp South Staffordshire

Further business expansion paves way for more Staffordshire jobs

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Further business expansion in Staffordshire announced this month will strengthen its position as a place of opportunity, the county’s economic growth leader has said.

With business development continuing at pace across the county, two businesses operating in Staffordshire have just announced further major investment. Jaguar Land Rover is planning to build a £40million storage facility for 6,500 vehicles in Stone. Developer Stoford is holding a public consultation today on the plans for the site at Stone Business Park which would create 75 jobs. The development would complement Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing facility at i54 South Staffordshire and its other Midlands sites.

Stafford-based Perkins, which produces diesel and gas engines for global export, has submitted its plans for site expansion in the county town. The company employs 750 people. Meanwhile GE’s relocation to the county council-developed Redhill Business Park in Stafford should be completed by next month. In South Staffordshire, automotive supplier Gestamp has started initial operations at the Bericote Four Ashes Business Park early as the county council completes road junction improvements and access to the site.

Staffordshire County Council economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “Jaguar Land Rover’s announcement on plans for its storage facility in Stone demonstrates further commitment to Staffordshire and will complement its thriving manufacturing facility here. Like GE, Perkins is a long- established county employer where generations have worked and we are pleased it is expanding here, enabling it to offer greater opportunities and high quality jobs locally. And with Gestamp’s operations beginning earlier than expected, we are seeing real strength and resilience in our economy. These are all important developments as we continue to support the creation of better paid, higher skilled jobs in Staffordshire.”

Medical Suppier Relocates To Staffordshire

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Reliance Medical UK, which distributes first aid products, has taken out a 10-year lease on a 36,466 sq ft warehouse in Kidsgrove.

The unit, constructed in 2015, was originally part of a larger production facility. The other building on the site, an 81,310 sq ft production unit, is due to be demolished and rebuilt by its landlord to create a 50,000 sq ft distribution unit, which it intends to take to market in Q1 2018.

Andy Pear, CEO, Reliance Medical, said: “We are delighted to have found an ideal base for our UK operation, just six miles from our current site. This enables us to keep our team together, and gives us the space we need to continue our rapid growth.”

Reliance Medical distributes products such as surgical dressings, healthcare products, medical equipment and first aid supplies.

The firm was previously based in Congleton, Cheshire, but outgrew its previous home – even with the option of additional off-site storage.  Cushman & Wakefield and Harris Lamb both helped broker the deal.

Edward Kennerley, senior surveyor in Cushman & Wakefield’s National Logistics and Industrial team, said: “This was a highly sought after facility and we received a lot of interest from occupiers. The deal was agreed within weeks of it going to market.”

He said demand was high because the supply of suitable properties in the area was low.

“Having taken the unit back from the previous occupier, the landlord has adopted a very proactive approach to the site and we look forward to working with them on the next phase of scheme which has already attracted good interest.”

Andrew Groves, director at Harris Lamb’s Stoke office, said: “The landlord of this site is committed to addressing the industrial stock shortfall within the region (hence) the redevelopment of the whole site.”

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.

Latest phase of access works for county employment site takes place this week

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The latest phase of works to create access to a major new Staffordshire employment site will take place this week.

Staffordshire County Council is carrying the works to create access to the Four Ashes site, paving the way for the relocation of automotive parts manufacturer Gestamp. The 52-acre site in South Staffordshire is being developed by Bericote Properties, providing 900,000 square feet of industrial floor space and accommodating over 1,000 jobs.

Access to the site is from the A449 along Gravelly Way and improvements are being made to the junction. Funded by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s Local Growth Fund, the work involves creating a traffic signalled junction. In addition, toucan crossings are being installed and pedestrian and cycle routes improved. Next week’s junction works will involve a weekend northbound closure.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said while the county continued to see near full employment, its focus is now to create better paid jobs. Today’s unemployment claimant count statistic for Staffordshire is just one per cent of the local population, lower than both regional (2.4 per cent) and national (1.9 per cent) figures.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “Our essential work to create access to the Four Ashes site is progressing on schedule as we see the new Gestamp building really start to take shape. This will be yet another thriving hub for business and see more job creation in Staffordshire. Without these access improvements the site could not be developed. We are pleased to have supported Gestamp’s relocation and expansion within the county. These works have been coordinated with Highways England’s resurfacing of the A449 to minimise disruption and all works will be completed by late autumn. We’d like to thank people in advance for their patience through the works period.”

In order for the work to take place safely, phased lane closures have been put in place and a temporary 40mph limit on that stretch of road. The first two weekend closures enabled work to be completed successfully. On Friday September 22 the northbound carriageway will need to be closed from 9pm until 5am on Monday September 25. Final closures will take place in October.

The project received a £1.91million allocation of the Local Growth Fund in addition to developer contributions.

Midlands MIPIM image

MIPIM in Cannes 2018

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Make It Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire are pleased to announce that we will again be participating at MIPIM in Cannes, which takes place from 12th – 16th March 2018. It is anticipated that the event will attract more than 24,000 delegates from more than 100 countries, including 5,000 investors, 3,100 companies and 3,800 CEO’s.

Please click here for details of how you can get involved as one of Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s partners at MIPIM 2018. We have once again secured a business suite above Caffé Roma, where we will be hosting a programme of interactive events including thought leadership seminars, announcements and networking events. This is an excellent opportunity to promote your business and projects, to engage with major international players in the property sector and take advantage of exceptional networking and commercial opportunities.

There are also wider opportunities at the event as we build on the success of MIPIM 2017 where we will be joining partners from across the West and East Midlands as part of the Midlands Engine project to host a bigger and better Midlands UK Pavilion. As part of the offer available through our partnership with the Midlands Engine, there is also the potential to access a charter flight through partners at the West Midlands Growth Company.

We would be delighted to work with you at MIPIM 2018 and look forward to hearing from you should you wish to explore this opportunity in more detail.

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