Annual Review 2014/15

The LEP has developed an ambitious vision for Cheshire and Warrington to deliver long term, sustainable economic growth.

2014/15 has been an incredibly demanding, stimulating and formative year and has determined the future role for all LEPs across England. Following submission to government of the Cheshire and Warrington Strategic Economic Plan, the blueprint for a £35 billion economy by 2030, the sub region was awarded £142.7m through a Local Growth Deal. This was a notable event for the sub-region, being the fourth highest award as measured by head of population. It was also a seminal moment for the LEP, now responsible for the successful delivery of this programme, the European Structural and Investment Fund programme and the Growing Places Fund. Since the submission of our Strategic Economic Plan, our ambitions have grown even further, after we submitted Cheshire and Warrington’s Devolution Growth bid to Government, outlining plans to deliver a £50bn economy by 2040.

The combined value of these programmes to Cheshire and Warrington is £1/4 billion and will enable us to realise our long term economic ambitions and generate 127,000 new jobs and 139,000 new homes. The LEP has welcomed these new challenges. Within the year we have confirmed our strategic priorities, restructured our governance arrangements and strengthened our executive team, including appointing the first Chief Executive for the LEP.

Our Intervention Priorities reflect the ambition of our LEP to look outside our area and connect into the two major cities of Liverpool and Manchester through the Atlantic Gateway (what Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy termed ‘Britain’s Second Engine of Growth’), and a Science Corridor linking key centres of excellence such as Thornton, Daresbury, Birchwood and Alderley Park into the science and research community in Manchester. The Government’s confirmation that it is committing to build HS2 from Litchfield to Crewe is a signficant development that will spearhead major economic growth for Cheshire and Warrington and enable our plans for a new High Growth City at Crewe to start to take shape. The Northern Gateway Partnership, an agreement between Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Stoke and Staffordshire LEP, working in partnership with seven local authorities, will be key to driving a joint Growth Strategy to capitalise on the pivotal location of Cheshire and Warrington and Staffordshire as the critical link between the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Gateway to ensure that the full economic benefits of HS2 are realised.

We are focusing on a small number of big interventions for the first year that best match our strategic priorities. In addition, all these projects are deliverable, offer excellent value for money and have the necessary scale to make a real impact in securing local and national economic growth.

Cheshire and Warrington has already shown that partners across all sectors are united in their pursuit of growth and that difficult decisions can be made for the greater good of Cheshire and Warrington. Most encouragingly of all, we are already in delivery mode.

I wish to thank my colleagues on the Board, partners and the Executive Team. I look forward to seeing our ambitions realised as we enter this exciting implementation phase. Cheshire and Warrington does genuinely offer 871 square miles of opportunity, innovation, ambition, inspiration and growth.

Christine Gaskell, LEP Chair

Download the Annual Review here.