A FORMAL link between business-led groups in Worcestershire and Birmingham could boost efforts to grow Redditch’s economy.
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) have signed a protocol committing both organisations to working together to drive economic growth in the region.
Although both groups have already been working closely on schemes which overlap geographical areas, the new agreement will allow them to jointly pursue opportunities for investment and job creation.
Collectively the two organisations plan to create 125,000 new private sector jobs by 2025.
Redditch in particular could benefit from the move as the borough council is a member of both LEPs due to the town geographically being based in Worcestershire but having its main transport and employment links with Birmingham.
Plans to redevelop the Eastern Gateway – or Winyates Triangle – to create a business park to attract high tech research and development companies is a project both LEPs have already identified in growth plans submitted to the Government and may become one of the schemes identified for further development under the arrangement.
Another opportunity includes plans for an enterprise belt around Redditch and Bromsgrove which could create up to 5,000 new jobs which has been mooted by the GBSLEP in the past.
Andy Street, chairman of GBSLEP, told a business leaders meeting in Redditch in June, the town could benefit from their bid to re-establish Birmingham and the wider West Midlands as the UK’s second economy, but only by all parties working together.
He reiterated the point by calling the protocol signing ‘clearly beneficial’ due to the two LEPs’ shared interests around economic growth and job creation.
“Today’s signing of the protocol heralds a new era of co-operation on a range of shared priorities which will deliver increased value for us all, while also benefiting the unique regional requirements of each LEP.”
Peter Pawsey, executive chairman of the Worcestershire LEP, added: “We will now identify further opportunities to work together on projects to maximise business opportunities for Worcestershire and the region, remove barriers for growth, encourage innovation and increase job creation, whilst ensuring effective and efficient investment.”