An award-winning business park which is home to global industry leaders and thousands of skilled employees is preparing for major expansion.
A planning application for a western extension to i54 South Staffordshire is set to be submitted in spring 2018.
The park’s development and investment success is as a result of a partnership between the City of Wolverhampton Council, Staffordshire County Council and South Staffordshire District Council.
There is potential to extend over 100 acres – attracting a further £600 million of private investment and delivering up to 2,700 more jobs.
An initial planning application to South Staffordshire District Council will be for development of the first 60 acres of land between Wobaston Road, Pendeford Hall Lane and the current i54 site.
More than £1 billion has so far been invested in i54, with 2,500 people employed by multi-national companies JLR, Moog, ISP, Eurofins, ERA and Tentec with a further 2,100 jobs anticipated over the next few years.
Over 3,500 students have also benefitted from a targeted skills and education programme.
The i54 partnership will be holding a public consultation on the proposals.
Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins said:
The success of i54 South Staffordshire has been outstanding – attracting global leaders in their sectors and thousands of skilled jobs.
We are proud of how the local government partnership worked together to achieve this and we have been rightly recognised by Government and the business community.
A key part of the site’s success has been its connectivity due to the access we created straight off the M54 which opens it up to the wider motorway network with ease.
It is therefore no surprise about the demand to locate here – and the subsequent need for expansion. i54 South Staffordshire will play a vital part in the Midlands Engine and in the growing productivity of Staffordshire and our neighbours.”
City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said:
i54 is one of the UK’s premier advanced manufacturing business parks.
Our joint investment at i54 has secured hundreds of millions of pounds of further investment and has brought thousands of jobs to the area, with 40 per cent of employees living within a ten-mile radius.
Demand is high for more accommodation from potential investors and the western extension will enable us to deliver that for the benefit of local residents and businesses.”
i54 and its expansion play an integral part of the Midlands Engine strategy to maximise the economic potential of the area. It is also backed by both the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnerships and local businesses.
A public drop-in exhibition about the development proposals is being held on Thursday, March 1, between 10am and 7.30pm, at Fordhouses Cricket Club, Wobaston Road, WV9 5HH.
Residents and businesses can view the proposals on line at www.i54online.com where they can also lodge their views via an online survey.
South Staffordshire District Council has already recognised the need for the 100-acre extension and, following extensive consultation last year, has made provision for it in the new Local Plan Site Allocations Document, which the council hopes to adopt later in Summer 2018.
The intention is for the remaining 40 acres of land, currently owned by Midlands Land Portfolio Ltd, Severn Trent’s property vehicle, to be part of a separate application at a later date.