LEP launches Quality of Place Strategy
We passionately believe that Cheshire and Warrington is the best place in the UK to ‘live, work, invest and relax’. We are a sub-region with a track record of outstanding economic performance, coupled with an outstanding array of urban, semi-urban and rural communities and natural resources.
During the development of this Strategy, 80% of business leaders said that quality of place was an important factor in investment decisions. The LEP recognises this and the need for a clear set of compelling messages, suitable for a range of audiences, that can sell the benefits of locating in Cheshire and Warrington to the wider world.
There are though things that we need to focus on to ensure that the positive messages we share are backed up ‘on the ground’ so that the reality for potential inward investors and residents matches the vision we promote. We have to invest in order to maintain our position of strength, relative to other places, and create the kinds of places that meet the needs of current and future residents, businesses, visitors and learners.
The refresh of our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) in July 2017 led to an increased emphasis on the importance of our ‘place’ offer in retaining and attracting well-qualified, creative and entrepreneurial talent, and in creating the best conditions for business and people to flourish.
Many of the key factors highlighted during our engagement activity whilst preparing this strategy are considered in the other supporting strategies to the SEP: the need for an experienced, engaged and suitably skilled workforce will be addressed through the Skills and Education Strategy; the issues of congestion, public transport provision and road infrastructure raised by business leaders and other stakeholders will be tackled through our Transport Strategy. Similar strategies are in train to address issues raised around housing, energy and digital infrastructure. This Quality of Place Strategy therefore focusses on the other factors including how we: –
• Articulate our proposition, brand ourselves and sell our offer effectively
• Create a great environment for business to flourish and investment to succeed
• Strengthen the offer and attraction of our urban and village centres
• Enhance our cultural and leisure offer
In doing so, the Strategy recognises that Cheshire and Warrington is not one homogenous place, but a collection of vibrant, distinctive and interconnected places, each with something different and special to add – something for everyone, where the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts. The Strategy considers why place matters, how our places measure up and where and how we can do more to enhance and maintain our outstanding place offer. It also sets out some clear and measurable actions that will bring the Strategy to life in the short to medium term.