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£250m bid to unlock M5 junctions  Image

20th November 2018
£250m bid to unlock M5 junctions

£250m bid to unlock M5 junctions and thousands of jobs

Punchline magazine has revealed that hundreds of jobs are expected to be created as six acres of business park land is developed close to the M5 in Gloucestershire.

It's the second significant development to be announced in the last week, increasing pressure to improve the county's already strained motorway junctions.

On Friday last week, it was announced that St Modwen had won planning permission for a near million-square-foot of land to be developed at Junction 11, potentially creating 1,250 jobs.

Now it's the turn of Robert Hitchins Ltd to champion the news that completion of the infrastructure for 1,300 new homes at Stonehouse, near Stroud, "has opened up six acres of new, serviced employment land close to Junction 13".

While the developments appear to receive a general thumbs-up, there are major concerns about the junctions' capacities to cope and this morning David Owen, the chief executive officer of local enterprise partnership GFirst LEP revealed more tantalising details.

"We are working really hard with the county council and (Stroud) district council to push Highways England to upgrade the whole of the M5 infrastructure - making Junction 10 both ways, upgrading junction nine, 11 and 13 and also junction 14," Mr Owen told Mark Cummings on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's morning show.

"We have a £250 million bid in to Highways England. It is really important. We know there are challenges, but there are also great opportunities."

When Punchline posted the St Modwen Quedgeley East Business Park story, comments left by readers focused on the issue of the junctions.

Matthew England, a central and fleet evaluator for Independent Nuclear Assurance, said: "Great that there's more investment in the area but I think someone needs to look at the infrastructure first. The M5 struggles with traffic volumes already, especially during peak times and specifically at all junctions. The regular and extensive queueing at junctions in Gloucestershire is a real issue."

Professor Richard Benham, a leading expert on cyber and digital management, said: "There is still a challenge as to why businesses would move here with GCHQ opening in other areas of the country and cyber is a virtual sector after all."

GFirst LEP has pledged £22 million to build a major new cyber-focused business park beside GCHQ, close to junction 11 on a 45-hectare site expected to deliver in excess of 7,000 jobs.

Robert Hitchins said Stroudwater Thirteen was "the first phase of a new business park being brought forward as part of a major mixed-use scheme on land jointly owned with Redrow".

The site in Oldends Lane already has outline planning consent for industrial and warehousing, B1, B2 and B8 uses and has the potential to provide up to 70,000 sq ft of new business space creating hundreds of new jobs.

Nearby Stroudwater Business Park is already home to Schlumberger, Renishaw, Dairy Crest, Dentsply and Delphi.

Michael Plimmer, senior development manager at Robert Hitchins, said: "We're very optimistic that there will be strong demand in an area with great transport links and the potential for hundreds of jobs."

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