Councils commit to support business growth

Councils are committing to support businesses through the planning process to make development in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire flourish.

On Thursday the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership will be signing a Planning Charter Mark to commit to support businesses through the planning process.

The event, held at the New Vic Theatre in conjunction with the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will see all local authorities in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area, including Stoke-On-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council, sign up to the charter in front of more than 130 business representatives.
It will focus on five main areas – clarity and consistency, effort and focus, competence and respect, accuracy and fairness and dialogue and understanding – to create clear advice for businesses looking to expand or develop.

Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-On-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “The city council is committed to helping to support existing businesses and encourage new investment in the region. The charter is the council’s pledge to help businesses flourish by providing a red carpet service to firms through the process as quickly and effectively as possible.”

County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Enterprise, said: “This valuable and unique Planning Charter Mark is part of the red carpet that authorities are rolling out to businesses looking to grow and thrive across Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire. The pledge demonstrates that pace, professionalism and good customer service underpin our planning processes and help us to all play our part in delivering jobs, growth and sustainable developments. This business friendly approach is one of the reasons that big names are investing in the area”

Stephen Dixon, LEP board member and managing director of Johnson Tiles, will also be joined by fellow board member Sue Prince and founder of Beechenhill Rural Enterprise to talk about the work so far of the LEP and the support the partnership can provide.

District council planning authorities across Staffordshire are also signing up to the charter.

The event is being organised by the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry on behalf of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP and is already fully booked. As part of the commitment all of the councils are signing up to have their planning policies reviewed annually to check whether they fulfil the criteria and can keep the charter mark.

Sara Williams, North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the move was welcomed by businesses. She said: “Businesses will welcome anything that makes the planning process easier and quicker. Enabling business to concentrate on growing and creating jobs, not bureaucracy, is something we all want to see.”

Maitland Hyslop, chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said: “The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is committed to supporting businesses to grow and welcomes any move which helps to increase investment in the region. The key to this charter is the fact that all of the local authorities have joined together to pledge their commitment making Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire the place to invest.”