The M54 Wolverhampton – Staffordshire High Growth Zone will be one of the biggest in the UK and was today (Tuesday) showcased at The Right Landscape for Growth hotspot at the global property forum.
The Growth Zone consists of six strategic cluster sites next to the M54 and junctions 10a and 12 of the M6. It builds on the award-winning i54 joint venture formed by City of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire and South Staffordshire councils in 2012, working closely with private sector partners.
The Growth Zone has the potential to deliver more than 11 million sq ft of floor space and 20,000 jobs over 15 sites. It provides investors, developers and occupiers with exciting opportunities over a ten-year programme.
The six strategic cluster sites are i54, Wobaston Park, Wolverhampton Business Park, ROF Featherstone, Mercury Park and Vernon Park, and West Midlands Interchange and Four Ashes Park.
Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “This is a great opportunity to join global brands in a nationally significant growth zone. “These strategic sites are centrally located with first-class connectivity and major public-sector infrastructure investment.
“The scale of the proposition makes it one of the biggest in the UK and also offers access to a highly skilled workforce.”
The first cluster is the final 15 acres on plots C, D and E at i54, where the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Moog, ISP, Eurofins, ERA and Atlas Copco (Tentec) are located.
The i54 partnership is now proposing a 100-acre western extension of the site, off junction 2 on the M54. Wobaston Park offers two adjacent sites with easy access to the newly-improved Wobaston Road and M54, with planning permission for B1, B2 and B8 use. Further north along the A449 is Wolverhampton Business Park on M54 Junction 2, which boasts available plots for professional services and end occupiers. It is already home to Sunday Times top-ten company, Charter Court Financial Services. ROF Featherstone, just north of M54, junction 2, is a 60-acre former ordnance site, owned by St Francis Group.
It includes plans for a 30-acre extension. Joint venture partners are funding a new access route to the site, which will be followed by a planning application later this year, with plots available from 2020. Mercury Park and Vernon Park lie just off M54 junction, where there are opportunities to join brands like Mann & Hummel, DHL, Squire, Hough and J Banks. West Midlands Interchange is a proposition developed by Four Ashes Ltd – a joint venture between Grosvenor First, Kilbride Group and Piers Monkton.
It will have direct freight access to the West Coast mainline and onward to the nation’s key deep-water ports. It will be subject to a ministerial development consent order this year, highlighting the significance of this national infrastructure project. Four Ashes Park is the new home to international manufacturer Gestamp. It has also seen international developer First Panattoni invest in a 400,000 sq ft speculative build. The private investment is matched by public sector investment already being developed to support business growth and success. The M54 Wolverhampton – Staffordshire High Growth Zone is supported by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, West Midlands Combined Authority, and Midlands Engine. Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader,
Mark Winnington, said: “The M54 high growth zone presents huge opportunities for global investors and so presenting it at MIPIM is a vital part of our marketing of the area. “All of the sites within the zone complement each other and are already home to world-leading brands which are playing an important part in UK and regional growth.
“The fact that the zone contains thriving enterprise hubs is due in no small part to the highly successful partnership of councils which has levered in millions of pounds of private investment.
“Its central location and road and rail links of course strengthen our pitch and we expect more improvements to infrastructure.
“The continued expansion and growth of the zone will create thousands more quality jobs in our area and ensure we have a skilled workforce to meet the needs of future business.”
Photo: i54 aerial