The minister for the Northern Powerhouse met company bosses and community leaders in a brand new office building envisaged as the first of seven blocks in a £100m business quarter.
Andrew Percy MP, parliamentary under secretary of state and minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Guto Bebb MP, under secretary of state for Wales, visited Chester’s One City Place next to the railway station this morning (Thursday, November 17).
They met representatives of Mersey Dee Alliance (MDA), leaders of Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) and Flintshire County Council as well as business people. The visit follows a meeting with the Northern Powerhouse minister earlier this month in London.
And the gathering comes just a week before the first tenant, energy specialist Power Solutions (UK) Ltd, moves into the fourth floor of the state-of-the-art City Place building following a relocation of its 54-strong workforce from its current offices in Trafford Street, Chester.
In December, accountancy firm RSM will be relocating about 85 people from its existing Steam Mill base to take a 8,116 sq ft floorplate on the top floor.
CWaC leader Cllr Samantha Dixon said: “This was a welcome opportunity as a gateway to the Northern Powerhouse to demonstrate how Chester is a great place to do business. The agenda included the MDA ambitions, cross-border importance and the programme of priorities as outlined in the MDA’s draft prospectus.”
Cllr Derek Butler, chairman of the MDA and Flintshire cabinet member for economic development, added: “Today’s visit highlights our commitment to ensure our unique cross-border economy is recognised as part of the Northern Powerhouse conversations and demonstrates our successful established partnership.
“Our Growth Track 360 rail investment campaign is an example of partners in the public and private sector supporting a clear infrastructure vision which will help our area to recognise fully its growth potential. It’s also important to note our campaign for two growth bids in North Wales and Cheshire as we aim for more connectivity in education and employment opportunities.”
Other key priorities of the MDA discussed at the meeting included employment growth, infrastructure, current and future skills needs and the importance of energy and science to the regional economy, including the ongoing development of three enterprise zones in Deeside, Ellesmere Port and Wirral.
Following the meeting in Chester, businesses on both sides of the border were visited by the ministers; Electro Impact UK a Hawarden-based aerospace engineering business and EA Technology a company specialising in asset management solutions for owners and operators of electrical assets in Capenhurst. The ministers also met with the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership during the visit to EA Technology.
■ The Carriage Shed venue, next to City Place, is hosting a Cheshire pop-up artisan fair with ‘bite street food’ on December 3 and 17, between 10am-4pm, and there will be a ‘Carols at Carriage Shed’ event on December 18 between 7.30-9pm. For more details, visit: www.carriageshed.co.uk