GOVERNMENT minister Alan Johnson tripped the light fantastic when he toured a Wirral factory that provides stunning light and laser shows for Robbie Williams, Bon Jovi and Tina Turner.
The Minister of State for Employment Relations and the Regions, was on Merseyside to officially open one of Wirral's most successful developments for small and medium sized companies, Langtree Group's Apex Court at the Wirral International Business Park.
The park is now fully occupied within 18 months of completion - and is so successful that a multimillion pound second phase is to be announced soon.
The visit came close on the news that Wirral now has two North West Development Agency strategic sites - Wirral Waterfront which has been designated an Objective 1 Strategic Investment Area (SIA), and Wirral International Business Park, one of NWDAs original strategic regional sites in October 1999.
Accompanied by local MP Ben Chapman, the Minister began his tour at Tomcat UK, part of the Texas based company which leads the world in the provision of stage and lighting equipment within the leisure and entertainment industry.
Tomcat's European arm was quick to recognise the strategic location Wirral provided for its pan European activities and also the support offered by economic investment agency Wirral Direct.
After the official opening of Apex Court, Alan Johnson met with representatives from occupiers , Qualitek , JPF Systems, Kite Packaging, Desk Link, New Plan and ADS, a wide ranging group of companies who are making a positive contribution to the local Wirral economy.
The minister commented: "Wirral International Business Park, as Wirral's flagship employment site, is a first class example of regional investment, both from indigenous companies and the international relocations market.
"The provision of a high standard of business space, whatever the size of company, is key to its continued success. Developers such as Langtree are fulfilling a valuable role, particularly for the fledgling companies and entrepreneurs who need modern premises on flexible terms in order to fuel their growth." Langtree's Regional Director David Blellock said that the success of Apex Court has now led to a second new development at the Park which will be announced shortly.
"We have great confidence in this location and the help given by Wirral Direct, who have supported our efforts every step of the way," he said.
David Hunt, representing the Wirral International Business Park Partnership, said that the Park was a prime example of the public and private sectors working together to promote a location.
"The partnership we have here is unique. Without the confidence of the developers and the backing and financial support we receive from The North West Development Agency, English Partnerships and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, we just could not have achieved as much as we have.
"It was great for the Minister to see this for himself today and to meet the people who are making it happen on Wirral," he said.
The Langtree Group is one of the North's fastest growing investment and development companies.
Based in the North West, its property and land portfolio has doubled in size from 1.8m sq ft to 3.5m sq ft with an additional 545,000 sq ft currently in the development stage. Its value now stands at £63m. ..SUPL: