New five year district plan to boost economic growth
A 'world class' Wakefield at the centre of Britain's economy is at the heart of a bold new plan to create 'Successful business, Successful people, Successful places'.
The district's new economic plan wants to make the most of Wakefield's cultural and creative strengths to bring new companies that complement the existing businesses in the area – with millions of pounds invested to create good quality employment at all levels for all residents.
The plan, which is to be discussed by the Council's key decision makers next week, aims to boost economic growth and help local businesses to thrive – while making sure local people benefit from the opportunities this brings. This in turn will help to tackle poverty in the district, therefore reducing the reliance on public services and other forms of social support, and boosting standards of living for everyone across the district.
Proposals include a new National Innovation Centre for the creative and digital sector based at Production Park, and an 'accelerated growth programme' where businesses help each other to improve.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: "With the decline of traditional industry, and ever increasing automation on the horizon, the district has embarked on an ambitious economic transition and we have already made substantial progress. With strong job growth and major regeneration.
"We are determined to continue to play our part in creating a district that everyone can be proud of. We must give our young people the chance to get qualified and be ready to seize the all opportunities on offer from the 21st Century digital economy.
"We are at the heart of Britain – a perfect place to distribute goods from. But for our communities to thrive we must be at the heart of the new economy – so we can improve quality of life for everyone and keep Wakefield a truly great place to live and work."
Plans for 4,000 new homes in Castleford and almost 1,000 in Wakefield's City Fields will offer as many opportunities as possible for local tradespeople and young people to learn new skills through apprenticeships, whilst the redevelopment of Rutland Mills will contribute to providing the right environment for emerging industries to thrive.
The plan connects with the Government's Industrial Strategy, the emerging Leeds City Region Local Inclusive Industrial Strategy, and the wider Strategic Framework within the Wakefield district.
Cllr Box added: "The plan has very clear outcomes – increased business productivity, higher level skills, more and better jobs, higher earnings and great places with a world class and accessible culture."
The new Wakefield District Economic Plan proposes how the Council, businesses, communities, the voluntary sector and other partners will work together to develop and improve the district over the next five years.
The plan is based on three key themes:
· Successful businesses – with the aim to grow the scale and quality of the district's business base. This includes social enterprises, raising productivity and boosting the number of businesses in areas that are innovative and resilient to economic change.
· Successful people – supporting residents to develop the skills that they need to secure good employment opportunities.
· Successful places – ambitious that all of Wakefield's places are fit for the future, with the right homes, transport, digital connectivity and leisure offer so that people can live their lives to the full and businesses can prosper.
It's being discussed at the Council's Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 12 June. It will be live-streamed, and available to watch again later, at www.wakefield.gov.uk/livestream
If approved at Cabinet, the strategy will then go out for extensive engagement with external partners to seek wider contributions on the aspirations of the district.