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STAFFORDSHIRE URGED TO SHOW BEST ASSETS

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Regions targeting potential inward investors should be able to offer a 'basket of opportunities,' Staffordshire pro...
Regions targeting potential inward investors should be able to offer a 'basket of opportunities,' Staffordshire property experts have been told by the West Midlands Development Agency.

Robert Haymon-Collins, WMDA's director of regional development, was speaking to 50 county chartered surveyors at the quarterly property review held by InStaffs, the Staffordshire inward investment company.

'You should be able to show not only the advanced sites and developments currently or imminently available, but also demonstrate the added value of local expertise in all aspects of moving to the area,' he said.

'It is vital to demonstrate that services can be provided and tasks undertaken for them, making the identification and acquisition of land and property as hassle-free as possible.'

It was important, said Mr Haymon-Collins, for North Staffs in particular to strongly compete with grant-aided areas by ensuring it shows itself off to the best advantage by having 'more product' - well progressed sites and speculative buildings - for potential inward investors to view.

'Regions that win out are those with a good portfolio of buildings which are relevant to potential inward investors and which they could, in effect, move into tomorrow.

'Jointly, we will only secure more exploratory visits if there are more 'market-ready' properties for them to see. Additionally, it is also important to emphasise the skill levels available, linked directly to the technology infrastructure such as universities and science parks.'

Mr Haymon-Collins said international inward investors were particularly concerned about accessibility and visibility. As a result, sites alongside, or very close to, major roads were vital to their ultimate decision.

'I am delighted to see how many major development sites are now coming on-stream in North Staffordshire just as I am pleased to see so many property agents here at this meeting.

'This kind of co-operation between InStaffs, yourselves, and our team at WMDA is, I am convinced, what is sure to bring increased investment flows into this part of the region.'

He said WMDA had been involved in 10 major inward investments into Staffordshire in the last 12 months, involving£145m in capital expenditure and creating 714 new jobs. Four were expansions, three acquisitions, two new-start and one a joint venture.

Staffordshire as a whole was only one behind joint leaders Birmingham and Shropshire in the WMDA regional league table, which showed 69 new businesses,£766m capital expenditure and 5,200 jobs in the last 12 months.

John de Kanter, chief executive of InStaffs, said: 'Many of the sites available in the county have come a very long way in the last 12 months, but we recognise the importance of ensuring we have a growing high level of good quality opportunities if we are to stay on the selection list - particularly for international businesses.'

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