Red Carpet.. only if the shoe fits

Red carpet treatment for businesses who want to invest in Stoke-on-Trent, but only if the shoe fits.

I say this following the negative comments from the Assistant Director of City Regeneration to City Renewal Overview and Scrutiny Committee 28th June that

the Potteries Shopping Centre did not own the land and therefore the application may not come to fruition.

This is hardly the Red Carpet treatment we are lead to believe the City Council is offering to ALL business’s, wishing to invest in our City. Continue reading

BCRS provides first loan to Stoke-on-Trent business

The recently launched business loan service set up in Stoke-on-Trent has provided its first loan to a business in the city.

The business loan service was set up by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Black Country Reinvestment Society (BCRS) in June with an initial loan fund of £200,000 to provide loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to Stoke-on-Trent businesses who are having problems getting the funding they need from traditional sources. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund launched by BCRS

A loan fund created exclusively to help Stoke-on-Trent businesses unable to obtain finance from banks has been officially launched  by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in conjunction with the Black Country Reinvestment Society (BCRS).

Initially, £200,000 is available for lending to companies who are having problems getting the funding they need from traditional sources.

Continue reading

What’s the future for Fenton?

William meath bakerWith Magistrates Court set to close and the library already closed, what future is there for Fenton?

As announced by the City Council last week, Burslem could be in-line to get almost £4m of further investment in the town. Hanley is having untold amounts of money invested in it, even Longton has had investment to help renovate the buildings but what of Fenton our most forgotten of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent? Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent on DCMS shortlist for super fast broadband

Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has announced that Stoke-on-Trent is on the short list for the next round of funding for Superfast Broadband, eligible cities will be able to bid for a share of a £50m pot of money to help them roll out ultrafast-broadband to become Super-Connected driving growth and attracting new investment. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent bids for Green Investment Bank

Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to host the Green Investment Bank (GIB) has been officially recognised by the government. The battle to secure the bank heated up as Vince Cable published criteria to determine where it should be based.

Stoke-on-Trent is the only West Midlands location which has indicated its interest in hosting the bank.

The Government sees the GIB as a catalyst for the UK’s transition to a green economy. The £3 billion it has set aside for it, will it says attract a further £15 billion from the private sector. However, the GIB will not have any borrowing powers until at least 2015, which have led to concerns within the green business community that will not be able to accelerate the transition to a green economy effectively enough.

The GIB’s establishment has now moved a step closer as business secretary Cable published the trio of criteria for deciding where it will be based and its first priorities for the first four years.

A successful location must be able to recruit and retain the specialist staff needed to run the organisation; enable the GIB to work closely with other parties involved in deals as well as other investment bodies and green technology providers and be in a location that provides good value for money.

Twenty-two locations across the UK have registered their interest in hosting the GIB.

I noticed that some of the locations are putting up some strong business case such as Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle. As far as I can see no such publicity campaign is being launched by Stoke. It would be a great pity if something that can deliver high quality, well paid jobs in the local economy is not being pushed by the City Council.

Vince Cable said

There is a great opportunity for British businesses to lead the transition to a green economy and stake a claim on a sector that has massive potential for growth.

I’m pleased to see that more than 20 places recognise the impact the Green Investment Bank could make, and are expressing an interest in being its home.

I want to set up the Bank as soon as possible, so it can start accelerating investments in these key sectors and help British companies take advantage of these opportunities. Setting out the priorities for the Bank and establishing UK Green Investments for April 2012 are a major step forward.

There will be a decision in March

Inward Investment Team Launched For North Staffordshire

A new team who will work to attract inward investment and new jobs to North Staffordshire is launched today at MIPIM, the world’s leading property exhibition.

The marketing, investment and enterprise team in the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership has been reorganised to create eight new posts. These officers will focus on attracting new business and helping existing businesses to grow.

The new team will work closely with InStaffs, the county-wide inward investment agency. InStaffs will move into Staffordshire County Council’s economic development service in April, but will continue to offer a county-wide service.

The new team which is already partly in place, while other officers will be recruited over the coming six months will focus exclusively on Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Staffordshire Moorlands, it will have more staff available and will offer a wider range of services than InStaffs.

Reorganisation of the department and access to external funding has meant the new service will be provided at no additional expense to the city council.

The new team will:

    Offer a welcome and support service to local, national and international investors in the private and public sectors, finding them land, property, staff and support in accessing grants
    Focus on North Staffordshire’s key sectors that offer economic growth – ceramics, medical technologies, environmental and low carbon technologies, business and professional services, creative industries, building technologies, logistics, tourism and leisure
    Provide support for tourism, place marketing, sector support, business development and accommodation

Councillor Hazel Lyth, said, ‘This new team will allow us to up our game and work much smarter in attracting new inward investment to North Staffordshire. We will play to our strengths and offer the red carpet treatment to local companies and to national and international investors. The team will take the message out that this is a great place to work and invest.’

Brian Ward, cabinet member for regeneration, who is at MIPIM, said, We are meeting developers, investors and property professionals this week to tell them about the fantastic opportunities in North Staffordshire. We are making good progress and redoubling our efforts now to attract new businesses into the new developments we are building.’

North Staffordshire’s annual reception at MIPIM was also shown two new tools that will be used by the team to help attract investment. They are the new website and a computer-generated DVD to show the planned redevelopment of Stoke-on-Trent city centre and the University Quarter.

The website offers information on working in, investing in or visiting North Staffordshire. The DVD is narrated by Andrew Marr, who is an honorary doctor of Staffordshire University.

Bryan Carnes, chair of the NSRP’s employment and skills group and chief executive of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, ‘We know we need to work extremely hard to get companies to move here in a nationally and internationally competitive market. The new team will add to the good work already undertaken by InStaffs and provide the support we need to bring new businesses here.’

Potteries Shopping Centre to expand

This is not new news, it has been kicking around on my desk for best part of a week.

Capital Shopping Centres Plc have announced that they are planning to expand the Potteries Shopping Centre by around 25,000 Msq or roughly half as big again.  Land ajacent to Bryan St and Potteries Way has been purchased and Capital Shopping Centres Plc are currently working on plans for the proposed extention to the site. Â  The proposed extention is thought to be in direct response to the East West Precinct development.

There are also plans in the pipeline with other developers for a new shopping & leisure complex on the site of the old PMT depot on York St.

Now investment and regeneration can only be a good thing but what impact are all these new store going to have on local retailers?   Are we going to have a transport infrastructure in place in time for any of these developments opening?  The York St development is rolled up with the final piece of the the Potteries Ring road which would go some small way to keeping traffic moving.  With a 50% increase in shopping space in the potteries, how many parking spaces are going to be allocated?  CSC state that 65% of their shoppers travel to the Potteries Shopping Centre by car with only 26% using public transport..

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?  Will we be in danger of having too many shops?  We need to trade the enviromental impact off against the economic impact and the future investment in the City.

Your thoughts?