Ellesmere Port in the mix to host new Investment Zone
Ellesmere Port has been confirmed as one of 38 English councils being considered as a possible Investment Zone.
The initiative was unveiled in Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget when he said four areas were the front runners, so far, for consideration.
But Cheshire West and Chester Council said it is keen to welcome Investment Zone status.
It said discussions will now take place between the council and government to agree how this opportunity will be delivered in the borough.
Initial discussions have focused on the Ellesmere Port Industrial Zone, as an area of major national and international significance, with ambitious plans to decarbonise and help address the climate emergency through a transition to net zero.
Investment Zone status creates new opportunities to secure substantial additional funding to enable this transformation, creating new, high quality skilled jobs. It would build on the positive collaborative work of local public and private sector partners to increase inward investment, improve local infrastructure, and strengthen the links with the local community.
This work has already helped secure a commitment by car maker Stellantis to produce a new generation of electric vans at Ellesmere Port. The area is also at the centre of plans for the hydrogen economy.
The council will be investigating the opportunity an Investment Zone might present to further support the strong cluster of business and activity to innovate and grow the Ellesmere Port industrial area, helping to fulfil ambitions for this important economic area.
The council will also explore with government how decision-making can be made quicker but has made clear that it will not support any proposals that impact negatively on the rights of workers or the health and safety of the local community.
Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Louise Gittins, said: “There are still many details to work through, but we welcome the Chancellor’s recognition of the growth potential of our borough. We look forward to further discussions with government officials to determine a model for an Investment Zone that meets the needs of our local economy and our vision of a greener, fairer, stronger borough.”
She added: “I see this as an opportunity to speed our transition to the low carbon economy, securing the investment we need to create more high quality skilled jobs and support our ambitions for this area to benefit our communities for decades to come.”