M4 corridor is 'clear priority' for Wiltshire job creation

Thursday, 4th October 2012

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Paul Johnson, chairman of the LEP, said the M4 corridor was vital when it comes to growing the Wiltshire economy because so much activity is concentrated there and the transport infrastructure is good.

But he added that opportunities existed across the county and need to be unlocked for Wiltshire to deliver the new jobs by 2015.

Johnson said: “The Swindon Wiltshire LEP has an economic challenge to meet: create 10,000 jobs by 2015 and 50,000 by 2026.

“Understanding where those jobs need to be delivered is crucial and more than half the economy sits across the M4 corridor, which also delivers the fastest routes out to the rest of the country.”

Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council, added: “The M4 corridor is one economic area, and it’s why it is important that Wiltshire and Swindon are now working closely together – because there are synergies there for the economy.”

Scott added that other areas which the council is to focus on are the A350 corridors and the Porton area in the south of the area with aspirations for a science park.

The LEP has also highlighted key sectors to focus on, Johnson added.

“The LEP has researched the economy here and identified advance engineering, life sciences, tourist, business and financial services, and the military as key sectors,” he said.

“We are finding synergies across the sectors and can also bring together some smaller business clusters so they can access larger supply-chain opportunities collectively.”

Wiltshire also needs to forge a distinctive identify and needs resource to attract new businesses to the area, according to HPH Commercial Property managing director Lindsay Holdoway.

Holdoway said: “Partially it’s a matter of identity for Wiltshire, but also of resource. Welsh businesses have received a lot of grant aid, which has pulled a certain number of businesses over the board.

“What Witlshire’s leaders must do is reorient the county to attract businesses as effectively as possible with a clear message. Yes, there is diversity in the economy, but there are also shared strengths to emphasise.

“It’s up to the council and the LEP to get the marketing story right.”

A full report of the breakfast event will feature in the forthcoming South West Business Insider.

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