A major new alliance dubbed the Northern Gateway Partnership aims to unite the North and the Midlands regions in boosting economic growth through better transport links such as HS2.
The scheme involves a groundbreaking collaboration of seven local authorities and the Cheshire and Warrington and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
These LEPs have signed a concordat committing them, supported by local authority partners, ‘to work together to ensure plan-led sustainable targeted growth and optimise the benefits of HS2 investment’, the group said in a statement.
The Northern Gateway spans Cheshire and North Staffordshire including Stoke on Trent, Crewe and the A500 corridor and will develop a Northern Gateway Development Zone to capitalise on the economic potential of HS2.
Cllr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: ‘This is a really exciting project that will be hugely economically significant – not just regionally but nationally.
‘It marks a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help realise the full economic potential for the Cheshire/Staffordshire region that investment in HS2 brings. Moreover, a Northern Gateway Development Zone would help supercharge the Northern Powerhouse and help successfully rebalance the economy of UK plc.’
It aims to deliver more than 100,000 new homes and 120,000 new jobs by 2040 through the new growth zone.
Christine Gaskell, chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: ‘The Northern Gateway Partnership will put the North and the Midlands in a strong position to deliver nationally significant economic growth, capitalising on the opportunities and investment that will be generated by HS2.
‘Committing to work across boundaries and regions will enable us to work together in a joined up and strategic way, with the backing of Government, to maximise our role in delivering the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.’
The partnership includes Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Stoke-on-Trent Council.