Tens of thousands of jobs could be created as the result of growing business confidence sparked by the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.
Alun Rogers, Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, made the prediction at the opening of the Etruria Valley Link Road yesterday, which will boost connectivity to the flagship regeneration zone.
Delivered by Balfour Beatty, the £43 million road has taken two years to complete. It links Wolstanton roundabout on the A500 with Etruria Valley and Festival Park in Stoke-on-Trent, opening up development land and busting traffic congestion significantly.
It also connects to the wider Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone which has welcomed more than 40 businesses and 3,000 new jobs since 2016.
Officially opened yesterday, the road will be accessible to traffic from 23 January.
Speaking at the official handover of the road, Alun said: “Many people and organisations have worked very hard to bring this project to life.
“The impact on business growth is already huge – there has already been the creation of thousands of jobs here and significant regeneration of this brownfield site.
“But the key importance of Ceramic Valley is it creates business confidence.
“Business owners see an area like this which is forward thinking, continuing to make investments in infrastructure, companies and the community and that builds confidence. That’s the feeling I’m getting after speaking to business people.
“People are making more big bets now in this area; they are taking on more commercial risk.
“Investment in sites like this will drive that confidence and will create many more employment opportunities. It will drive us to create many tens of thousands of jobs and even more substantial growth in the next few decades.”
The launch event was hosted by property developers St Modwen and featured a ribbon cutting and the official unveiling of a new Spitfire sculpture made by KMF which was installed on a new roundabout next to the link road.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Abi Brown said: “The Etruria Valley Link Road is one of the biggest and most strategically important transport infrastructure projects undertaken in the city in recent decades.”
Speaking about Ceramic Valley, Cllr. Brown added: “We have now built out 50 per cent of the available development land that comprises the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone – so it is ready for commercial use. That’s 1.5 million square feet of commercial floor space.
“And we’ve generated an extra £1.3 million in business rates from the site – a figure which is set to treble over the next two decades.
“It’s an amazing achievement which will help supercharge growth into the future.”