County town identified as key economic growth area

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County town identified as key economic growth area

A new report from Oxford Economics has identified Northampton as a key part of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Growth Corridor.

It follows a directive from former chancellor, George Osborne, to the National Infrastructure Commission to examine ways to maximise the corridor’s potential.

In the report, Northampton is described as having “the potential to play a significant role in ensuring that the growth corridor achieves its potential as a dynamic and innovative economic area”.

It also states that the town “is already a prominent regional economic centre”, employing more than 140,000 people across a wide range of sectors.

Cllr Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “This extremely positive report identifies a range of opportunities and challenges for us in the coming years.

“It predicts strong expansion in Northampton over the next 15 years, with job growth outstripping the rest of the Oxford-Milton Keynes -Cambridge Growth Corridor at almost twice that of the UK.

“The report confirms what we already suspected, and brings some of the town’s strengths and weaknesses into sharper focus, meaning we can plan with even more clarity.”

Strengths included Northampton’s above average growth in recent years, excellent location between London, Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge, opportunities for investors to make good returns, and excellent quality of life for residents.

Oxford Economics identified several key opportunities arising from its analysis:

• A chance to build on Northampton’s strong high-performance technology and motorsport sector
• The prospect of capitalising on the town’s position as global leader in quality footwear production
• The possibility of demonstrating to government how investing in improved transport links, particularly east-west links would benefit the whole corridor
• An opportunity to further develop Northampton’s cultural offer, tapping into the global tourism market
• The opportunity to develop greater synergies between the University of Northampton on its Waterside Campus, and firms within the Enterprise Zone and beyond

Northampton is already an economic powerhouse worth approximately £6 billion a year and the realisation of new opportunities has clear potential to enable it to grow even stronger in the future.

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