A major extension to a Midlands business park which could provide up to 1,700 new jobs is well on schedule for completion this summer.
Work on the extension to i54 South Staffordshire, which is on the county border with Wolverhampton, has continued throughout the pandemic.
The project – which is being delivered by the City of Wolverhampton Council, Staffordshire County Council and South Staffordshire Council – will see the development of 60 acres of land between Wobaston Road and Pendeford Lane and the current i54 site.
It is due to be completed by August 2021, with new occupiers expected to start arriving in 2022.
The current i54 business park is occupied by multi-national businesses including Jaguar Land Rover, Moog, ISP and Eurofins.
Following investment of more than £1 billion, it has a workforce of around 2,700 people, with half of the jobs held by people living within a 10-mile radius.
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “The i54 South Staffordshire western extension is a huge project for the county council and our partners and we’re pleased work has continued safely on schedule.
“It’s vital that we’re in a position to welcome the site’s occupiers as soon as possible to support our economic recovery post-pandemic. On-site work is due to be completed in August when we very much hope society is getting back to normal.
“Our Staffordshire Means Back to Business strategy includes delivery of major infrastructure projects and attracting investors which will support job creation. They also generate business rates which in turn helps to fund public services.
“This is further demonstration of the strength and success of our partnership with the City of Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire councils.”
Councillor Stephen Simkins, City of Wolverhampton Council cabinet member for city economy, said: “i54 plays a major part in the lives of thousands of people in Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire and, at this worrying time with Covid-19, it is more important than ever that we can make rapid progress on projects such as this and welcome new investment.
“We see the western extension as critical to the long-term recovery of our local economy after the crisis of the pandemic. The collaborative working between the three local authorities on this complex scheme has delivered real results for all, especially Wolverhampton citizens. We are now building on the success of what is already one of the UK’s premier advanced manufacturing business parks.”
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South Staffordshire Council leader, Councillor Brian Edwards MBE, said: “All of the partners associated with i54 South Staffordshire are committed to supporting the local economy and bringing more jobs and investment to the area.
“Our award-winning work has continued at pace despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the new western extension is well on the way to completion. We’re proud to have been involved with the i54 South Staffordshire project since its inception and to see the impact it has made to the local and wider West Midland economy.”