Cheshire and Warrington LEP covers the areas served by the Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington unitary authorities. This includes Chester, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield, Nantwich and Warrington. It has a population of 890,000 and had a GVA of £18.5 billion in 2008.
Its board was recognized on 24 March 2011. It is chaired by Christine Gaskell of Bentley Motors and includes Howard Hopkinson, chair of Harman Technology, Martin Ashcroft of Tata Chemicals, Robert Davis if EA Technology, Sara Mogel of West Cheshire College, Louise Morrissey of Peel Holdings, Graham Ramsbottom of The Grosvenor Estate, Nigel Schofield of Schofield Diamond Travel, Pete Waterman of Pete Waterman Entertainment and Professor T J Wheeler of Chester University as well as the leaders of the three local authorities.
According to its Business Plan for 2012 to 2015 the Board's vision for Cheshire and Warrington is
"to be the best performing sub-regional economy outside the Greater South East – the preferred location for business because of our investment locations, connectivity, highly-qualified workforce and excellent quality of life. The aim is to create an economic brand that transcends the local and is truly national and international, with strong recognition of our location and offer. Atlantic Gateway and Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus both offer real prospects for economic growth. Cheshire and Warrington LEP will maintain its presence on their boards."
Its priorities include:
- developing a skilled and productive work force through advanced apprenticeships matched to employers' needs;
- business investment particularly for start-ups, exports and inward investment;
- infrastructure development including high speed rail and superfast broadband;
- assisting the rural economy; and
- promoting the sub-region generally through a Cheshire and Warrington Ambassador's programme.
Several of those programmes have their own support officers - Julian Cobley for broadband, Carol Young for business investment and Andy Seddon for programme and project funding,
The sub-region hosts the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus which includes the Daresbury Laboratory and Cockcroft Institute. This campus is a major engine of growth and recovery. I and other members of IP North West attend the Daresbury breakfast meeting regularly and have helped a number of businesses in the area. If you are from Cheshire and Warrington and want to discuss how we can help, please call me on 0161 850 0080 or use my contact form. You can also contact me through Facebook, Linkedin, twitter or Xing.