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Philip Atkins and Patrick Farrington
Philip Atkins (left) and Patrick Farrington in the near complete Riverside retail centre, Stafford.

Deal to drive growth and job creation signed by councils

A deal to secure investment and create thousands of jobs in Stafford Borough has been signed by the leaders of two councils.

Stafford Borough Council leader Patrick Farrington joined Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins to officially sign off the District Deal – which involves the local authorities sharing resources to boost economic growth.

They got together at a special meeting yesterday (Monday 13 June) to put pen to paper on the agreement, which is set to assist in creating at least 3,000 jobs and allow up to 2,500 homes to be built by 2020.

The deal involves working together to:-

• Boost the economic prospects of the northern quarter of Stafford town centre, as well as improve transport around the town.
• Promote industrial growth, including extending Stafford’s Redhill Business Park.
• Continue to work jointly on the ongoing development of the Stafford Western Access Road.
• Review the wider transport network and ensure the Borough is ready for HS2.
• Create the Staffordshire History Centre.
• Expand economic development and broadband in Stone and in rural communities.
• Extend Stone Business Park.
• Deliver the Stone Leisure Strategy, including a new leisure centre.

Other areas covered in the deal include looking at improved ways of working to generate income and become more efficient, as well as pooling business rates.

The authorities will also commit to further co-operation including through the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as sharing funding from development and working together on devolution.

Stafford Borough Council leader Patrick Farrington said:

This is a major step forward for Stafford Borough. The two authorities are already committed to working together to boost jobs and economic growth. Now we will be working even more closely by combining resources in order to secure the future prosperity of the area.

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said:

In Staffordshire we have seen huge economic successes which are leading in turn to an increasing number of better paid, better skilled jobs. Increased prosperity means a greater quality of life and independent living for more of our residents. We already work closely with Stafford Borough Council and continuing collaboration will enable us to prepare and adapt to future public sector reform.

Business rates retention will replace direct Government funding to councils and so it adds to the importance of attracting investment to the borough. In addition to continued growth and job creation, thriving town centres and employment sites will mean we can continue to support the more vulnerable Staffordshire residents.

More than £1 billion is already being invested in Stafford Borough as new shops, businesses and housing developments take shape.

The investment – believed to be the largest ever in the borough – comes as the county town’s brand new £100 million retail development approaches completion this summer.

That scheme, combined with new housing and other projects in the pipeline, represent an investment of around 1.2bn.

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