WEEKEND WEB: Exciting plans for district’s work future
This week’s CABINET CALL is written by Coun Nick Worth
The government’s national Industrial Strategy is currently out for consultation and South Holland will be part of a local version of that strategy within Lincolnshire.
The Industrial Strategy focuses around five foundations: Ideas, People, Infrastructure, Business Environment, and Places.
So, for South Holland, when it comes to Ideas, we work closely with the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire County Council using Research and Development to focus on our key priorities in the agri-food/agri-tech and aligned industries to ensure our businesses can be world leaders in their field.
In the People area, I have a long-term ambition to change our traditional low-wage, low-skill economy to one of high-wage, high-skill.
The opportunities are now there, through the soon-to-be developed Food Enterprise Zone and the University of Lincoln Centre of Excellence.
Aligning the skills required by local businesses with the school and college curriculum is key to the future.
Engineering and artificial intelligence – including robotics – are also a major part of that future vision.
As far as Infrastructure is concerned, the district is pro-growth, with aspirations to improve our road infrastructure.
We have recently successfully bid for a £12m Housing Infrastructure grant for developing the Spalding Western Relief Road, which will be key to unlocking 4,000 houses over the next twenty years.
We are also removing existing pinch points, such as the recent major improvements at Peppermint Junction, along with improvements to the A16 and the A17, with its strategic links to the A47.
Working alongside the county council, broadband is also a key area for continuous improvement.
In the Business Environment, South Holland is ‘Open for Business’. We have a nationally important food and flower industry, processing, packing and distribution-based economy, with a mature supply chain, and we are a critical area for value-added business.
The council has also delivered £747,000 in Grants4Growth funding, enabling small and medium sized businesses to grow.
Places – South Holland is going through the final stages of its Local Plan and has an ambitious targets for housing across the district, along with employment allocations and industrial units. Our market towns will be a key area for focus going forward.
In general, we have an established, flexible workforce and a lower-than-average cost of living, along with some excellent educational resources, making South Holland an attractive place for inward investment, living and working – which aligns well with the national Industrial Strategy.