Transport: New i54 motorway junction will be catalyst to growth say business leaders
THE official opening of the new motorway junction serving the i54 business park near Wolverhampton will act as an important catalyst in helping to attract additional trade to the area, business leaders have said.
The £40m junction, which links the site directly with the M54 is set to open on December 11.
The three councils – Staffordshire, South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton – which each has a stake in the business park, together with Local Enterprise Partnership representatives visited the site ahead of the opening to assess how the work was progressing and what steps were being made to secure additional business.
The various stakeholders said work was on-going to attract more businesses onto the site, although almost 90% of the 239 acre site is now occupied.
All this week TheBusinessDesk.com – in conjunction with Virgin Trains, Birmingham Airport and the University of Birmingham – is focusing on regional transport and transport infrastructure issues.
We have produced a special supplement on the sector which includes coverage from a round table attended by a number of the West Midlands’ transport industry’s ‘big hitters’.
To download our transport supplement click here.
As part of the Black Country Enterprise Zone, businesses moving on to the site from outside the zone can benefit from 100% business rate relief worth up to £275,000 over a five-year period.
Stewart Towe, chairman of the Black Country LEP said: “The completion of the i54 motorway junction will be great news as it opens up direct access to the i54 part of the Black Country Enterprise Zone. The Enterprise Zone status has enabled the LEP and its partners Wolverhampton City Council and Staffordshire County Council to fund £36m towards the junction construction costs.”
He said the junction would improve accessibility for i54 tenants such as aerospace group Moog, Eurofins, stamp printer ISP and Jaguar Land Rover’s new £500m Engine Manufacturing Centre.
The site has already created around 2,000 skilled jobs and more could follow if additional tenants are found.
David Frost, chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said: “The i54 project is an inspiring example of what business, local and central government can achieve when they invest in the right infrastructure. The partners have shown that they can deliver, and looking to Staffordshire in particular, shovels are ready to start work on more employment sites across the county funded by the recent Growth Deal.”
Local Growth Minister Penny Mordaunt said the importance of the new junction should not be overlooked.
“Successful businesses need great transport links to thrive. The opening of this new junction at the i54 site delivers that. Not only will it allow the current tenants of the Black Country Enterprise Zone to grow their business, but it also provides a real boost to those companies that are supplying them,” she said.