Shropshire’s vision for a sustainable future gets off to a flying start
Over 100 Shropshire businesses heard about the progress that has been made to realise Shropshire Council’s economic ambitions at the latest Business Leaders Breakfast held recently.
Following the launch of an ambitious Economic Growth Strategy last year, the council’s head of economic growth, Gemma Davies, updated delegates on a raft of plans and projects that are currently underway to advance Shropshire’s vision for a sustainable future.
Gemma highlighted a range of key infrastructure projects that, alongside major initiatives like the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan, the former Ironbridge Power Station, Oswestry Innovation Park and Flaxmill Maltings, also included ‘growth corridors’ designed to “unlock opportunities in Shropshire”.
She also commented that the council continued to build partnerships to work collaboratively so that Shropshire could “take part in regional conversations”.
Other headlines included the achievement of £88m known investment, support provided to nearly 2,000 to businesses by Marches Growth Hub Shropshire, the rollout of £12m of European funding across the county, and a refresh of the ‘Invest in Shropshire’ brand in preparation for introducing Shropshire to the world stage at MIPIM in Cannes in 2019.
Fiona Piercy, programme director, provided an overview of the Midlands Engine, and the morning’s presentations were completed by Stuart Ashton, head of planning and Iain Thomson, associate director, partnerships and communications, both from Harworth Group PLC, who detailed the company’s inspiring proposals for the development of the former Ironbridge Power Station.
The morning’s programme also included roundtable discussions to identify barriers to growth with representatives from both the public and private sectors.
Skills shortages remain a key problem and the council’s chief executive, Clive Wright, commented that the aim was to create “a highly-skilled workforce for Shropshire”, evidenced by the development of University Centre Shrewsbury, its Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) and MCMT (Marches Centre of Manufacturing and Technology).
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for economic growth, said:
“It has been a busy year for economic growth in Shropshire. Great strides have been made, key partnerships have been established, and excitement and belief about what Shropshire can offer to investors and businesses is beginning to grow.”
The slides from the event are available on the Invest in Shropshire website homepage or by clicking here.