Ambitious plans to boost county's economy

Prosperity, growth and opportunity will be the cornerstones of Northumberland’s economy over the coming years.

The current administration has outlined ambitious plans in its refreshed five year economic strategy, particularly in the context of the the new North of Tyne Combined Authority, the developing Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and the national Industrial Strategy.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson, said: “There are so many opportunities to grow our economy over the coming years, with regional and cross-border working.

“This plan clearly sets out what we hope to achieve with our partners and communities to ensure we stay strong and prosperous, not just over the next five years but well into the future.”

The Strategy focuses on six major areas of industrial opportunity in Northumberland, which is already home to more than 100,000 employees and over 11,000 active businesses.

The areas are:
  • Energy, offshore, wind and sub-sea
  • Agri-tech
  • Tourism and culture
  • Rural scale-up
  • Health care and life sciences
  • Advanced manufacturing

Councillor Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet member for Economic Development, said: “Northumberland’s position as an economic force shouldn’t be under-estimated.

“We are a base for nationally significant industrial growth, home to leading global industries and we’re well placed to deliver against the ambitions of the national Industrial Strategy.

“The county has businesses operating in globally competitive supply chains, and unique assets for large scale investment linking into the wider economy of North of Tyne including major employers on Tyneside and innovation and skills assets, including our world class universities.

“However we know that to continue to flourish we need grow our business base, support inclusive employment and ensure our towns, villages and communities are places that can deliver and support employment. This is what we’re committed to delivering over the next five years.”

One of the first priority schemes in the county’s regeneration pipeline to help boost growth is a new Blyth Relief Road. Cabinet agreed to release £95,000 to continue to develop a business case for the project.

The two main roads into Blyth already have over 20,000 vehicles a day on each of them and suffer from congestion during peak periods.

This adversely affects the economic growth of the area, the movement of people and goods, particularly to and from the Port of Blyth, and also has a harmful effect on the environment.

While any new scheme is likely to cost around £20m, further studies will now be carried out to assess the viability of a new link road to reduce congestion and open up further the area’s economic potential.
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