News from our partners: Investment in region’s roads key to Marches economic growth
News from our partners Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
Dualling of the A5 and investment in the A49 and the M54/M6 link is vital if the economy of the Marches and the wider Midlands is to thrive.
That was the message to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP when he attended an event hosted by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
The LEP, the private sector-led organisation which works with local councils in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin to drive job creation and business growth, was briefing MPs and Ministers on its transport priorities at the House of Commons last week.
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson welcomed guests to the House of Commons reception which was attended by the county’s MPs Mark Pritchard, Daniel Kawcynski, Philip Dunne as well as Roads Minister Jesse Norman, Mid Wales MP Glyn Davies and representatives from Highways England and Powys County Council.
Chairman of the Marches LEP, Graham Wynn, told Mr Grayling:
“Part of our strategy is the way we have been working across borders, with colleagues here in the Marches, with Midlands Connect and Mid Wales to find out where the blockers to growth are for our businesses.
“We’re delighted that the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road is being supported, but we also need investment in the A5: dualling it will make a huge difference to not only our businesses but also to our visitor economy.
“The A49 is a really important trunk road and we need the M54 connectivity to the M6 too. Investment in these roads will make sure our economy, as well as that of the Midlands and Wales, will reap the benefit.”
Mr Grayling praised the LEP for bringing partners from all three councils, Mid Wales and the Midlands together for the discussion.
“It is really good to see you working with colleagues across borders. I’m keen to hear about what your priorities are, and what will make the biggest difference to the Marches.” added.
The event, which also saw the launch of the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan, heard from Nigel Brinn of Powys County Council who highlighted the joint freight strategy already developed by the Marches and Mid Wales and work being done on the A5/A483/A458 cross border study.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s Dominic Proud briefed MPs on the M54/M6 link being strategically important for business across the Marches, Black Country and Wales as well as the planned M54 Junction 5/A442 scheme.
Guests were told the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road was expected to be completed by 2023/4 and would unlock sites to pave the way for 3,500 homes and 50 hectares of employment land by 2036.
About the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership
- The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is driving accelerated economic growth through investment in innovation, higher level skills, housing and business sites across the region.
- The Marches region, which includes Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin, is a dynamic business region where entrepreneurs flourish alongside global players. Covering 2,300 sq miles and with a growing population of 684,300, it is home to 30,775 businesses and a £14.3 billion economy.
- Bordered by the West Midlands to the east and Wales to the west, the Marches’ key centres of population and employment are the city of Hereford and thriving towns of Shrewsbury and Telford. A network of 25 smaller market towns and a large rural area make up the rest of the settlement mix – with the Marches recognised as being one of the most enterprising regions in the UK
- High profile businesses which have chosen to base operations here include BAE Defence Systems; GKN; Westons Cider; Grainger & Worrall; Stadco; Caterpillar; Mϋller Dairy UK, Doncasters Aerospace, Denso, Capgemini, Ricoh, Cargill, Heineken, Grocontinental, McConnels, Kerry Ingredients, Special Metals, Kingspan and Makita
- The Marches is also home to centres of excellence and institutions which promote and foster the transfer of knowledge including Harper Adams University and its National Centre for Precision Farming, University Centre Shrewsbury, the University of Wolverhampton campus and e-innovation centre at Priorslee, and Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury
- The designated Enterprise Zone of the Marches LEP is in Hereford, at Skylon Park. It is the only Enterprise Zone in England with a unique defence and security sector focus, drawing on the city’s heritage as the home of the SAS
- The LEP area is home to some iconic places of interest. The Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, the Shropshire Hills and the Wye Valley Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Offa’s Dyke, the rivers Severn and Wye, and places of national renown including Ludlow and Ross-on-Wye make it a highly popular place to both visit and relocate to
- The Marches has a diverse business base and is recognised for its sector strength in advanced manufacturing and engineering; agri-food and drink; automotive and defence & security
- Business support in the Marches is offered via the Marches Growth Hub, a business-friendly website at marchesgrowthhub.co.uk and helpline on 0345 6000 727, developed by the LEP.
- You can learn more about the Marches LEP at marcheslep.org.uk and contact the LEP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org