Hi-Tech Job Plan Moving Forward

Plans for a hi-tech jobs cluster on a landmark business park in Newcastle-under-Lyme are moving closer.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is proposing feasibility studies into building a bespoke headquarters on a long-term rental for an international research company – and developing satellite industrial units nearby for associated businesses.

Penkhull-based Lucideon, which wants to expand its materials technology business, could be the flagship tenant at Chatterley Valley West, with other similar companies creating a technology ‘cluster’ at neighbouring units.

Stephen Sweeney, Deputy Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Cabinet member for Finance, Town Centres and Growth, said: “Lucideon is an internationally recognised leader in its field, looking to expand.

“Most of its 170 employees are scientists, engineers and experts in their specialisms and we want this company to grow in Newcastle.

“Not only will it be a success in its own right, but Lucideon has the potential to be at the heart of a cluster of hi-tech businesses at Chatterley Valley West creating well-paid jobs for the long term.”

A report to be considered at the Council’s Cabinet next week says that developer Harworth usually builds generic units, rather than bespoke premises. Now the authority wants to explore buying the 2.3 acre plot and completed building from Harworth, and then renting it to Lucideon on a long-term basis.

At the same time, the Council wants to investigate the feasibility of buying three smaller units at Chatterley Valley West and renting them to businesses involved in similar materials research and development.

The Chatterley Valley West project, which has the potential to create up to 1,700 jobs, is benefiting from £3.5 million investment by Staffordshire County Council and £3.6 million from the Kidsgrove Town Deal after a successful bid by the Borough Council.

Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “We’re working with partners and using the Kidsgrove Town Deal to provide opportunities for businesses to grow here and enable local residents to be able to find good jobs close to home.

“Given the sums of public money involved we need to step carefully, but we believe there is potential here for something exciting.”

The Borough Council’s successful bid for the Kidsgrove Town Deal is worth £16.9 million and also includes funding for Kidsgrove sports centre, improving the area alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal, developing the train station and developing a single centre for different public services.

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