More than a thousand jobs have already been secured at the UK's first Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone in just six months in North Staffordshire.
More than 40 others businesses have expressed an interest about moving onto the site – with the potential to provide a further huge boost to the Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire economy.
The news comes after the official launch of the Enterprise Zone yesterday in front of more than 200 investors, developers, government officials and business leaders at the Moat House Hotel on Festival Park.
It also showcased the new Ceramic Valley app, which includes interactive digital content and news updates, with video footage and overhead images of the site.
The Ceramic Valley is one of only 44 Enterprise Zones across the country and is designed to accelerate growth in a range of employment sectors. It comprises four million square feet of commercial floor space – the equivalent of 250 football pitches – and has the potential for 9,000 jobs. The zone covers six key sites along the A500 corridor – five of which are in Stoke-on-Trent and one in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Strong progress is already being made at Etruria Valley and at Highgate Ravensdale – where construction and visual signs of development are clear. Parcel delivery company DPD and carvery restaurant Brindley Farm are already on site and operational at Etruria Valley and Tile Mountain is building a distribution hub at Highgate Ravensdale.
Enterprise Zone status helps to reduce the costs and barriers to business growth, making the site a real pull for international investors. The six areas will regenerate largely brownfield land, with the potential for many multi-million pound investments over the next decade.
Benefits to businesses include a significant rate reduction over a five year period on five of the sites, enhanced capital allowances at the Etruria Valley site, and in certain circumstances, gap funding can be considered to support development.
Councillor Elizabeth Shenton, leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “The Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone is a major step forward in North Staffordshire’s offer to businesses looking to relocate. It includes a significant site in the Chatterley Valley, within the borough boundary, which will benefit from excellent road links via the Tunstall by-pass and the A500.
“There has been interest from potential developers and discussions are on-going.”
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “The Chatterley Valley West site adds to the portfolio of prime business development sites in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. We will progress the delivery of the supporting infrastructure to the site – making it ready for business as soon as possible.
“With the potential for one million square feet of commercial space, business rate relief because of the Enterprise Zone status and excellent connectivity, it’s already attracting significant interest. The site will bring huge benefits locally, ensuring all business rates generated are retained by the local enterprise partnership.”