Business leaders ask employers: join the conversation on housing and transport
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Business leaders have urged employers and staff to help shape a plan which will set future provision of housing and transport in the West of England.
They are calling on companies to get involved in a major consultation which is being led by the area’s four local authorities to support future delivery of the housing and transport the area needs.
The West of England’s local authorities have launched a Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study, giving local businesses the opportunity to have their say in how and where future development should happen.
The West of England is growing and economically successful: the area is worth around £26bn a year to the UK economy, and around 95,000 new jobs are targeted to be created by 2036. Estimates state that the area needs 85,000 new and affordable homes by 2036, which is 29,000 more than what’s already planned and predicted.
James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber & Initiative at Business West and an LEP Board Member, said: “Business in Bristol, Bath and the West of England is on the rise; we are the most successful city region outside of London and are home to an incredibly successful range of companies small to large.
But if we’re to sustain our growth, our high standard of living, fulfil the potential for all those who live and work here, attract more talent and investment, it’s critical that we have the right number of homes and good transport infrastructure to match our needs. Housing and transport are key factors in ensuring that we can seize opportunities for this city region’s economy. Without these foundations our future growth will be constrained.
We as businesses, have long encouraged our four councils over the city region to plan ambitiously into the long term future for housing, transport and employment. They have committed to do just this and so now is our chance to input into this and so we strongly urge all business and employers to engage in this consultation and say what you want to see. I hope as many of you get involved and do this. Get on and act now and certainly before 29 January 2016.”
Rebecca Tregarthen, Chair of the Institute of Directors in Bristol, said: “Now that we’re in a more positive economic position, businesses need to make the best use of resources if they’re to increase productivity and they can’t do that without sufficient infrastructure.”
“As it stands the region can’t cope with the growth of large businesses and if we’re to incentivise a new workforce of 95,000 to move here, then we need to tackle this issue head-on. Whilst businesses and individuals have the opportunity to present the current realities in the consultation, people can also be creative with the process and generate new ideas for the future. This is why it’s so important for everyone to join the conversation – together we’re better at mapping our future.”
Many local businesses are already getting involved and have joined the call for other employers to do the same.
Ed Brown, co-founder of Friska, which has five outlets in Bristol city centre and one at Bristol & Bath Science Park, said: “We want to see more big occupiers in Bristol, fuelling growth and contributing to the local economy. If we’re to succeed in attracting them to the local area, we really need to improve our cross-region transport network. Current transport infrastructure seems to be a hot topic over the tables at Friska, so it’s great that those people have the opportunity to help shape improvements. We’ll be getting involved and we hope other businesses will share their perspectives too.”
There are a number of ways people can share their views including: local events, briefing sessions, providing views in writing and online.
People have until the end of January next year to give their views on a range of options developed which set out where new homes could be based. For more information about how you can get involved, visit the website at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk
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