Economic development strategy

Strategy at a glance

This strategy will set the context for long-term investment for the whole of our borough. Our focus is on the following areas.

Place and infrastructure

  • Develop our town centres of Newcastle and Kidsgrove
  • Grow our cultural tourism offer through the celebration of arts, cultural heritage and Philip Astley
  • Develop the Ryecroft site to add to the economic vitality of Newcastle town centre
  • Work with Newcastle Sustainable Transport Group to improve Newcastle town centre road signage and wayfinding
  • Secure inward investment for the Chatterley Valley Enterprise Zone

Business environment

  • Support our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Independent sector
  • Support the annual Business Boost competition
  • Identify opportunities for local companies to benefit from public procurement
  • Re-use our vacant premises for start-up businesses and innovative ideas
  • Through the development of thel ocal plan, bring forward new sites for employment and a wide range of housing

People and ideas

  • Work with Newcastle Employment and Skills Group to help long term unemployed into volunteering, training and employment
  • Support the delivery of the SSLEP skills strategy to increase training and employment rates
  • Encourage a more enterprising culture working with the Cultural Education Partnership and Cultural Forum
  • Support the development and delivery of The New Keele Deal and Keele Deal Culture

Each section sets out a series of priorities we propose to take forward and looks at the strengths which the borough has to offer, the opportunities which may be capitalised on and develops proposals which aim to take advantage of these.

The borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme is changing. All around us we see new development which will result in more accommodation for Keele and Staffordshire University students. We will explore opportunities for town centre housing development which as well as, providing housing choice, will increase footfall in our town centre and support our local business.

2018 saw the opening of Castle House, the new town centre hub for public services including the council, Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire County Council's district-based services, Newcastle Library, Newcastle Registry Office and Aspire Housing Group.

As well as increasing footfall in the town centre, the move to Castle House creates opportunity for the redevelopment of the wider Ryecroft development site, which includes the former Civic Offices site. Given the rapid changes taking place on our high streets a wider mixed use approach to the site will be explored, which reflects the requirement for more housing and leisure opportunities in our town centre. This development has the potential to re-shape our town centre, boost business and strengthen investor confidence in the area.

Whilst the site remains vacant we plan to make best use of it and have secured planning permission for large scale events, such as the Gandey's Circus event early in 2019. Working with our partners at Newcastle Business Improvement District (BID), the Creative People and Places Programme - (Appetite), The New Vic Theatre and The Brampton Museum and Art Gallery the town's emerging cultural economy has grown from strength to strength. This growth has been recognised and supported by national and regional awards. The borough became a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Priority Development Area in 2015, since which time over £5,000,000 has been secured from HLF (renamed National Lottery Heritage Fund - NLHF) to support a wide range of cultural heritage projects right across the borough.

We will continue to celebrate the life and legacy of Philip Astley, founder of the modern circus, inventor of the circus ring and born in Newcastle in 1742.

Newcastle was at the heart of the 2018 celebrations, 'Circus250', to mark 250 years since the first circus and every year we celebrate Philip Astley through our annual Homecoming event, which presents the best of contemporary circus in Newcastle town centre. In 2023 we will celebrate 850 years since the royal charter granted in 1173, this will provide opportunity for borough-wide events and activities.

Recently, a local consortium led by New Vic Theatre has been awarded a grant of £1,750,000 as part of Arts Council England's Creative People and Places programme to expand the work of the Appetite arts project into Newcastle-under-Lyme over the next four years.

We will continue to work with our partners to ensure a strategic approach to delivery of this strategy recognising that it needs to be read and delivered alongside other strategies and long term plans, such as the council plan, joint local plan, Newcastle Growth Deal, the SSLEP strategic economic plan and emerging local industrial strategy, in order to achieve overall improvement in the economic, social and environmental well-being of our community.