A Stoke-on-Trent MP is urging the Home Office to base its new immigration caseworking facility at a multi-million pound redevelopment scheme in the city.
Yesterday, BusinessLive revealed how 500 new jobs will be created in the Potteries by 2025 with the opening of a new Immigration Caseworking Innovation Centre.
The move forms part of a Government drive to move around 3,000 civil service posts outside of London and the South East – including the creation of 175 jobs in Birmingham at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Now MP Jonathan Gullis, who represents Stoke-on-Trent North, says the proposed £75 million redevelopment of Swift House, next to Stoke Station, would be the “perfect” location for the centre.
Plans for the site include a new urban quarter, 180 new homes, a 150-bed hotel as well as employment and retail space.
Mr Gullis told StokeonTrentLive: “It’s a decision that will be taken by the Home Office and the city council, but this would be my preferred option.
“Capital & Centric have a track record of developments in places like Manchester which have created hundreds of jobs, and the size of the office space being proposed in The Goods Yard perfectly matches the needs of new Innovation Centre.
“It’s also just next to the station. There will be times when the civil servants will need to travel to London for meetings, and it would also mean it would be easier for the Home Secretary herself to spend time in Stoke-on-Trent.”
He added: “I think having the Innovation Centre right next to the station will also improve the impression of Stoke-on-Trent people get when they first arrive here.
“There are various locations in the city where the Home Office workers could be based temporarily while The Goods Yard is developed.”
The Home Office has not yet confirmed where the innovation centre will be located or when it will open.
And Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown refused to confirm whether the Swift House site is being considered for the facility.
She said: “We’re really looking forward to discussing the plans for the Innovation Centre with the Home Office and Cabinet Office. There are a range of potential sites across Stoke-on-Trent, and there could also be further opportunities for government jobs moving here in future.”