Strategy for Staffordshire Moorlands future growth is launched

A STRATEGY to steer economic growth, strengthen communities and improve public health in the Staffordshire Moorlands has been launched by the county and district councils.

The Staffordshire Moorlands Growth Strategy sets out delivery plans on business and housing development, improving connectivity and ensuring people have the right skills to take advantage of employment opportunities over the next decade.

The plan focuses on the district’s strengths and how these will shape its economy, communities and role in the countywide contribution to the Midlands Engine.

Priorities include the building of over 6,000 homes by 2031, regenerating the Moorlands’ town centres and capitalising on the district’s visitor economy.

With a third of the Peak District located in the Staffordshire Moorlands, tourism is a key industry and ensuring Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph are thriving centres is important for local communities and visitors alike.

The district has near full employment with a higher than average number of people working in the knowledge-based economy. An emphasis on retaining a skilled workforce and making the most of transport connections along the A50 corridor and HS2 are integral to the strategy. The strategy will be discussed by the county council’s cabinet next Wednesday (December 19).

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins (pictured left) said: “As with all of our districts and boroughs, towns and villages, Staffordshire Moorlands has unique local attributes which contribute to the Staffordshire’s economic growth and residents’ wellbeing and this strategy will build on these strengths.

“It is renowned for its natural environment which we all can enjoy and is complemented by vibrant town centres which we want to support and enhance through initiatives such as the Mill Quarter regeneration in Leek, transport improvements in Cheadle and new housing in Biddulph.

“We also want to build on the entrepreneurial drive in the Moorlands, where 93 per cent of businesses which started four years ago are thriving. Our joint plan includes improved connectivity on road, rail and digitally which are essential to ensure our local economy thrives and prospers.

“The future prosperity of the Staffordshire Moorlands and across the county will enhance people’s health and ability to live longer, enjoyable, independent lives.”

Sybil Ralphs, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, (pictured right), said: “This strategy gives definition to our shared ambitions to see the Moorlands continue to thrive and grow. We know what our strengths are and we know what needs to be done to develop and enhance them so that we put our residents and businesses in the best position to fulfil that potential.

“This plan sets out a clear way forward by identifying the key areas for development that will be the catalysts and foundations of future growth and opportunities. I very much welcome it and look forward to seeing progress on delivering this vision in the coming months and years.”