The prospect of up to 3,000 new jobs in Ellesmere Port and almost £150m of private investment has taken a further step forward with a £1.7m plus project to upgrade a key access road.
The work, in progress at New Bridge Road, is designed to support businesses in the area and to attract major new investors.
Whilst many local firms already operate in the locality, there are still a number of sites available.
But the road remains unadopted by the highway authority, which limits future investment and job creation opportunities.
It is to be brought up to a standard where it can be taken over by the borough council including resurfacing, adding new cycleways, environmental and landscape works, lighting and improvements to drainage and footways.
The council describes the spend as ‘critical’ to support existing businesses and attract major new investment and jobs growth.
It follows a successful bid for £6m from the Government’s regional growth fund (RGF) by Ellesmere Port’s Development Board and the borough council.
Development Board chairman Robert Mee said: “This is the first area of Ellesmere Port to benefit from our successful bid to the RGF and I am delighted that local businesses and residents will soon start to see real results.
“We have successfully created Ellesmere Port as a location that is recognised as business and investment-friendly and I know that investing in strategic sites around the town can only increase this success.
“We want Ellesmere Port to continue to attract new businesses and the improvements we will make to support the five sites named in our bid will ensure that they are capable of meeting the needs of companies of all sizes and ensuring transport links for local people looking for work.”
The government money will be used to help unlock land for business and employment by constructing and upgrading roads, improving previously used sites, upgrading transport links and environmental enhancements.
The five strategic sites are Hooton Park, Port Bridgewater, the former Cabot Carbon site, Newport Business Park and the former BP Stanlow site.
Programme manager Audrey Gaffney has been appointed to oversee improvements at the sites, with New Bridge Road being the first to benefit.
“I am pleased to see we are now at a point where we can start works on New Bridge Road,” said council leader Cllr Mike Jones (Con).
“Bringing it up to a standard where it can be adopted by this authority is yet another example of the work going on in Ellesmere Port to show businesses that it is a great place to invest in.
“As well as the potential of creating up to 3,000 jobs across the town with this funding there could also be a further 1,600 indirect jobs in supporting the companies which could be based in Ellesmere Port.”
“The council will continue to support any business interested in looking at investing in the town in any way we can.”
Ellesmere Port Town ward borough councillor and development board member Justin Madders (Lab) added: “The town has had a number of major investors come in over the last five years or so and this project has the potential to build on the good work to date and create thousands of new jobs in the area.
“The town’s excellent transport links and location have made it one of the most popular places for business to invest.
“Our challenge now is to attract a good range of businesses that will bring with them well paid and sustainable jobs for the town.”