AMBITIOUS plans to turn Redditch into a high wage, hi-tech town are being driven forward as part of a regeneration programme for all of north Worcestershire.
Key to the plan is the proposed Redditch Eastern Gateway by the A435 which a recent report said will create up to 1,200 new jobs for the town as well as adding at least £100 million of gross value added to the local economy.
The town also aims to forge links with local universities and other seats of learning to attract high calibre recruits to the borough’s growing reputation in the aerospace and hi-tech industries.
“Redditch is in a ideal situation – we are close to the ‘Green and Pleasant Land’ – yet close to the city too so we can offer the lifestyle plus connectivity to the conurbation,” said council leader Councillor Bill Hartnett.
The town is also being given a lead in deciding which firms take up space in the new Eastern Gateway, even though much of it will lie in Stratford and Bromsgrove districts.
A study by North Worcestershire Economic Development & Regeneration lists the town’s location, manufacturing expertise, transport network and opportunities for growth as positive selling points for the borough.
However it also warns of a poor public perception, potential skills deficit and the need to raise aspirations among young people.
“We are trying to do all we can on all fronts, for instance we need apprentices in engineering and manufacturing and what most people don’t realise is that these days factories are clean environments, you can go in wearing a shirt and tie,” said Coun Hartnett.
“We want to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, we have £20,000 available to support fledgling businesses, to incubate them and help them grow.”
Other initiatives, backed by local enterprise partnerships at a regional level, are concentrating on promoting Redditch as a positive place to live, work, invest in and visit as well as regenerating the town centre.