Ellesmere Port will be a ‘confident industrial area’ according to the borough’s draft Local Plan due to go to public hearings this year.
The draft plan points out the town is the second largest in Cheshire West with over 60,000 residents and is the most industrialised part of the borough.
Previously a major centre for manufacturing, it has suffered a ‘sharp decline’ in employment.
There has been a 50% reduction in manufacturing employment leaving a legacy of derelict brown field sites and some contamination issues.
“The industrial legacy and the presence of the M53 motorway cutting through the town has led to image and perception problems,” planners believe.
“However, the area provides a major employment land resource for the borough and has become increasingly successful in attracting new employment opportunities.
“Wages are higher than in the rest of the borough, albeit workers rather than residents are the beneficiaries reflecting the presence of high value manufacturing in automotives and chemicals.”
Pockets of high deprivation exist, particularly in the northern parts of the town.
But looking to the future, the Manchester Ship Canal, the ease of access to the national motorway network and the availability of land is said to provide ‘considerable opportunities for improving the economy of the town and the borough as a whole’.
It is suggested the town will be ‘a hub for high quality industries and technologies including the green energy and waste sector, attracting inward investment’.
Perceptions of Ellesmere Port will be enhanced as a result of improvements to the image of the town as a prosperous area.
The plan points out the Ellesmere Port Development Board, supported by Cheshire West and Chester Council, has prepared a ‘regeneration framework’ to support investment and regeneration in the town over the next 10 to 15 years.