Gloucestershire part of new 'powerhouse'

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Approval has been given for the formation of the Great Western Gateway - a regional powerhouse - and it is being heralded as "excellent news" for Gloucestershire.

In an announcement that took place at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport, the government formally approved the forming of the Great Western Gateway.

The new powerhouse - the fourth of its kind to be created in the country - is the first that will span the South West of England and Wales - it is also the first to cross a border.

A statement released by Gloucestershire County Council said: "The new body brings together councils and businesses from Swansea to Swindon and from Tewkesbury to Weston-Super-Mare.

"The Western Gateway aims to attract investment, development and growth into the area, drive forward major infrastructure projects and the linking up of universities and colleges."

The announcement by Welsh secretary Alun Cairns and Robert Jenrick the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, also committed a £400,000 investment.

As part of the launch, Mr Jenrick visited Hub8 Cheltenham - a co-working space dedicated to enabling the growth and development of the flourishing cyber technology ecosystem.

He shared the news with Gloucestershire businesses and organisations, and to see first-hand all the exciting things happening in the county.

He said: "The Western Gateway will draw on the diverse talents of both sides of the Severn to deliver an economic powerhouse that will drive growth throughout the region.

"Already a major centre for cyber and tech, research, manufacturing and the creative industries - there's clearly huge potential for them to achieve even greater things together.

"As this Government works to level up our regional economies, this initiative will give south west England and south Wales a powerful voice, just as the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine have done for those areas."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid added: "Today we are announcing an exciting partnership to turbo charge growth across Wales and the south west of England.

"The Western Gateway is full of bustling towns and cities and boasts a rich cultural and industrial history - from the famous cheeses of Cheddar Gorge and iconic Roman Baths of Bath, to the thriving TV industry of Cardiff Bay.

"We won't rest until we have unlocked the potential this region has to offer as we level-up opportunities across the UK."

In Gloucestershire, the Great Western Gateway is expected to give a major boost to campaigns leading from the 2050 Vision programme.

Campaigns such as a "city-region" approach to future planning across Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury and a third Severn crossing between Stroud and the Forest of Dean could all benefit.

Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: "This is excellent news for Gloucestershire, for our businesses and our residents.

"The Great Western Gateway puts us at the front of the queue for attracting new business and government funding into our area.

"It is a really exciting project that will change our area for the better in ways we can only begin to understand.

"I congratulate Mr Cairns and Mr Jenrick on approving this bid - which is so exciting for the future of Gloucestershire."

The Great Western Gateway is the fourth powerhouse development in the UK, after the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine and the Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford corridor.

The Great Western Gateway has already appointed an independent chair, Airbus' senior UK vice president, Katherine Bennett CBE.

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