What obstacles to growth continue to challenge the area and what changes could help Cheshire reach its potential?
Brock Carmichael has been a contributor to North West Business Insider’s ‘Talking Property’ section for over 18 months now. We are asked for our opinions every month on a range of topics. This was September’s.
John Cassell, Partner
“Cheshire and Warrington’s economic output (GVA) is greater than Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield, the second highest in England outside of London. It hosts the North West’s only FTSE 100-listed company (United Utilities) and key sectors are Manufacturing (25% of the North West, growing 3 times the national average), Life Sciences (with a key asset at Alderley Park), Chemicals (50% of the UK’s salt, 40% of its fertilisers), Energy & Environment, Finance & Professional Services and Logistics (with a key asset at Omega). It is one of the best regions in the UK for connectivity, physically and digitally, however it needs to remain so, with a higher number of commuters into the region, over reliance on cars and a digital need for speed. Its challenges include housing, an aging population and a deficit of graduates.
On housing, the region has wide differences in wealth and a need for solutions for first time occupiers and downsizers. Successful delivery of major projects; the Cheshire Science Corridor, Mersey Dee Economic Axis, Constellation Partnership and Warrington New City areas, could lead to a need for up to 127,000 new homes by 2040.”
Michael Cosser, Partner
“Rental costs in Cheshire and Warrington are higher than the national average with particular pressure in Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester. This could mean opportunities in the major towns for PRS development to meet housing demands.
Warrington ‘New City’ plans to triple the number of new homes delivered, with 7,500 homes for city centre living, Warrington Waterfront, garden city principles and infrastructure developments. Time Square is attracting interest and the recent approval for Eddie Stobart’s £73M national distribution centre off the M56 should open the doors at Warrington for further approvals.
Cheshire East Council has just allocated further business and housing sites to total 3,000 homes against its Local Plan targets. Whilst Cheshire West and Chester still struggles under the weight of Barons Quay and Weaver Square in Northwich and Northgate and the Racecourse plans in Chester.
Despite words of collaboration and progress against ambitions, it seems much is left to the private sector to deliver.”