Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP) has entered an agreement with the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) confirming a commitment to work together for increased economic growth for the region.
At a protocol signing ceremony, which took place on Wednesday 29 October 2014 in Birmingham, chairs from the Stoke & Staffordshire LEP (SSLEP) and the Worcestershire LEP (WLEP) formalised their approach of working with the GBSLEP on a range of projects and initiatives for the mutual benefit of the wider region.
The LEPs have previously cooperated on a number of schemes due to the fact that there are shared overlapping geographical areas that fall under more than one LEP, for example, key transport infrastructure and strategic economic plans. The protocols formalise the process and demonstrate a commitment to this working together to maximise opportunities for businesses across the West Midlands, while critically minimising complexity and any duplication of effort.
Andy Street, chairman for the GBSLEP, said: “In addition to the obvious geographical overlap, we share a number of common interests and aims with our close neighbours at SSLEP and WLEP. These include strengthening economic growth and job creation and it is clearly beneficial for us to formalise our working relationships with them on a range of projects and initiatives.
“Today’s signing of the protocol heralds a new era of cooperation on a range of shared priorities which will deliver increased value for us all, while also benefiting the unique regional requirements of each LEP.”
As part of the formalisation of the arrangement, the LEPs will be working closely to identify potential joint projects and opportunities and make recommendations on the approach and management of each initiative.
Peter Pawsey, executive chairman of the Worcestershire LEP, said: “There has already been continuous and extensive collaboration between Worcestershire and Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnerships on schemes of joint interest. Today’s signing of the protocol now formalises this arrangement going forward to benefit the long term prosperity of the region.
“Successful joint initiatives to date have included major transport infrastructure improvements. For example, the aligning of the Growing Places Funding to support the Hoobrook Link Road in Kidderminster to alleviate traffic congestion and open up significant employment and housing land opportunities on the South Kidderminster Enterprise Park.
“We will now identify further opportunities to work together on projects to maximise business opportunities for Worcestershire and the region, remove barriers for growth, encourage innovation and increase job creation, whilst ensuring effective and efficient investment.”
David Frost, chairman of the SSLEP, said: “When we met with cities minister Greg Clark MP following the submission of our Growth Deal bid, he said our partnership had a clear vision and strategy, with the right focus on infrastructure and skills, and added that we should continue to build constructive relationships with neighbouring LEPs. We have worked hard to cement these relationships, culminating in the signing of this protocol, which will lead to increased investment and more jobs across our respective areas.
“We are very clear that our priority is delivering more and better jobs for the people of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, and bringing economic growth to the region. This agreement is another part of creating solid foundations for building a brighter future.”