Economic plan targets 10,000 new jobs for Northumberland

Coun Allan Hepple, middle, at a construction site for new homes.
Coun Allan Hepple, middle, at a construction site for new homes.

Northumberland County Council’s policy board has today agreed a strategy for growth for the county – aiming for 10,000 new jobs to be created by 2031.

A new economic strategy has been endorsed, alongside a full draft version of the council’s core strategy, which sets out strategic planning policies for the county also been agreed for wide consultation with communities.

The economic strategy sets out a vision for a prosperous Northumberland founded on quality local jobs and connected communities, and identifies six key priorities which will support economic growth. It will now go on to the full council for approval.

Key sectors including energy, advanced manufacturing, knowledge-based services, tourism and culture and land-based industries such as forestry and agriculture will be focused on for development.

Measures will be implemented to strengthen the business base through support for business growth and start-ups, a network of excellent employment sites, inward investment support and ensuring the council and other partners buy local.

The council wants to introduce the living wage and promote its adoption by other partners as well as developing employability and skills programmes for residents and a focus on providing opportunities for young people to access the world of work, including apprenticeships.

Infrastructure and connectivity are key and the council has already identified dualling of the A1 and re-opening the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne rail line to passenger services as key priorities – alongside a range of transport schemes and better connectivity through mobile and broadband coverage.

The economic strategy is set within the context of the North East Strategic Economic Plan, which is setting a target of creating 100,000 new jobs in the region by 2025.

Coun Allan Hepple, policy board member responsible for housing, planning and regeneration at the council, said: “This new strategy provides an authoritative report on the economy of Northumberland, established the future economic growth agenda and identifies priorities for action. We are looking to deliver these by working with our partners locally and through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the North East Combined Authority.

“The strategy is unashamedly about growth because we believe that that is the right thing for Northumberland. It aims to support key employment sectors and provide required skills training as well as considering critical connectivity issues such as transport but also through superfast broadband.”

“It is integrated with our core strategy – also considered today – which has been designed to provide the spatial planning framework to enable the business, housing and infrastructure needed to deliver growth.“