THE PUBLIC can now have their say on a draft Economic Strategy for south Warwickshire.
The strategy – agreed jointly by Stratford District Council and Warwick District Council – will guide economic policies in the two council areas, seeking to create a stronger, greener economy within five years and align with the local plan currently being prepared to shape development until 2050.
At its heart are three themes – People, Productivity and Place and five key opportunity sectors – Automotive, Electric Vehicle (EV) Batteries, Hydrogen, Bioscience and Agri-tech, and Digital Creative, which will not only drive economic growth but help to deliver on ambitious climate change targets, the councils say.
The theme of People will seek to address the skills imbalance and improve the affordability of housing. Productivity will look to strengthen existing economic sectors, de-carbonise the existing south Warwickshire economy and attract new sectors to diversify the local economy.
Finally, Place will prioritise improving infrastructure provision, increase the vitality of high streets and town centres, promote the economic value of artistic and cultural assets and ensure the adequate supply of employment land.
The key sectors reflect where there is already strong presence and important links in south Warwickshire. The automotive, EV batteries and Hydrogen sectors are already making significant contributions to bringing about reductions in emissions, forming one of the UK’s leading low carbon transport technology clusters.
The bio-science and Agri-tech sectors recognise how much of south Warwickshire’s land is used for agricultural purposes and the long-standing presence of bioscience research in Warwickshire, while the digital creative sector is included in order to further strengthen that area. In Leamington “Silicon” Spa already has one of the nations’ leading clusters of businesses in that field.
The draft also recognises that the area has a strong tourism and hospitality sector and has outstanding attractions with the local castles and Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford making strong contributions to the local economy.
SDC economic spokeswoman Coun Anne Parry said: “I am happy to support the draft economic strategy. Working with Warwick District and all of our other partners in the region, will strengthen our position and help us to realise the ambitions laid out in the local plan. The priorities in this draft strategy, and how we will work to support them, will help to achieve a strong, low-carbon economy which will deliver important actions on climate change while providing economic opportunities for all of our residents.”
WDC economy spokesman Coun Liam Bartlett added: “Warwick and Stratford Districts share many common economic opportunities and challenges. This joint Economic Strategy provides a framework for the two councils to work both separately and together to tackle these. Taken as a whole, the strategy will strengthen the area’s position when applying for funding or seeking to attract public and private sector investment across south Warwickshire. We welcome the views of residents and stakeholders as part of this consultation on our draft strategy.”