A 15-YEAR programme to invest £50 million in new and existing business parks across Shropshire has been approved by Shropshire Council, giving a huge boost to the economy.

At a meeting of the full Council on Thursday, councillors approved the Business Park Programme, which will cater for local businesses growth and encourage start-ups and inward investment.

The work will be carried out in four phases and will support sustainable development by underpinning the role or market towns as key service and employment sectors.

The programme will kick-start with four sites already in council ownership identified for investment, where demand has been established and external funding over the next three years is available.

The phase one development will create 25 acres of serviced land and create 270 jobs, while safeguarding a further 210.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, and deputy leader, said the announcement is a huge boost for the county's businesses.

“I am delighted that we have backed the delivery of the Business Park Programme to be rolled out between 2020/21 and 2024/25," he said.

“There is undoubtedly a huge demand from exciting, new Shropshire businesses at the cutting edge of new technology and skills – and we want to support them in any way we can going forward.

“This is a flexible programme and will provide up to 30 hectares of serviced employment land to meet local business and inward investment needs over the next 15 years.

“We expect the programme will create up to 1,500 new jobs and safeguard a further 1,500 which is absolutely brilliant news for the county.

"This has been such a tough year for businesses everywhere, but we are leading the fightback here in Shropshire and are absolutely dedicated to supporting economic growth.”

Previous economic growth projects of this type undertaken by Shropshire Council and its predecessors and partners have included start-ups, supporting local company expansion and securing inward investment.

The Marches Growth Hub and the economic growth team receive around 140 queries annually, mostly from new start-ups and existing companies looking for new sites and grow-on space.

There is a need to address the lack of investment in serviced employment land and new workspace due to viability issues and minimise the potential detrimental impact on the local economy

The site will also see new workshop space constructed to BREEAM ‘Very Good’ energy efficiency standards and should therefore make a positive contribution to the reduction of C02 emissions.

There will also be the potential to explore options for the provision of renewable energy generation and storage.