A KEY project which could create thousands of new jobs in Redditch has moved a step closer to reality following a multi-million pound injection of cash into Worcestershire’s economy.
The Government is investing another £7.2m into Worcestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership between 2016 and 2021, part of which will be used to improve the road network around Winyates, Moons Moat and Gorcott Hill – known as the Eastern Gateway – to develop a high quality business park.
In total 29 hectares of land – equivalent to 16 football pitches – will be released as part of the scheme which once it is fully developed by 2020 will create up to 2,683 jobs, of which as many as 1,336 will be new positions.
It is also estimated the scheme will add between £60.8m and £74.3m a year to Redditch’s economy by allowing the borough to retain key businesses and attract new investment.
The site is divided into three parts with the first phase around Gorcott Hill near to the A435 expected to comprise of mainly large warehouse and industrial units, with land closer to Winyates focusing on office space.
Overall the additional funding will safeguard 400 to 500 jobs and attract £15m to £25m in public and private investment.
Gary Woodman, executive director of Worcestershire LEP, said: “Following the additional allocation for the Worcestershire Growth Deal, we are now in a position to work with Worcestershire County Council and Redditch Borough Council to identify the most effective way of improving access to an initial phase of the Redditch Eastern Gateway site, a key Game Changer employment site in the county.
“This is great news for businesses in this area as we work together to further open up this important site in Redditch, however, it is important to understand that the funding announced by Government last week is not available to us until 2016/17 at the earliest.”
Some of the funding will also be used to extend Evesham Vale Park with a focus on agricultural businesses while grants will also be offered to firms to allow them to acquire new premises and equipment to encourage their expansion.
The money will also be used to deliver 600 new apprenticeships by 2020 and 3,000 higher level skills qualifications to address skills shortages in the county.
The cash is on top of £47m given to the LEP last July to help deliver the organisation’s vision to create 25,000 jobs and grow Worcestershire’s economy by £2.9bn over the next ten years.