THE future is looking bright for Ellesmere Port with new jobs, homes and more than £2 billion of investment on the way.

Substantial progress has reportedly been made in delivering economic growth, according to the latest review of the town’s Regeneration Programme.

An independent probe by Amion Consulting was undertaken on behalf of the Ellesmere Port Development Board (EPDB) and Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC).

It focused primarily on delivery against the objectives of the Ellesmere Port Vision and Strategic Regeneration Framework and the Economic Growth Strategy.

The main objectives of the programme have been to attract and encourage investment to create local employment and make local people proud of Ellesmere Port as a place to live, work and visit.

Cllr Brian Clarke, cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure at CWaC, said: “The review has identified substantial progress in delivering economic growth for Ellesmere Port including more than double the growth in new jobs compared to the rest of the country, over £400 million investment and a further £2 billion forecast.”

The review also reveals that 2,600 jobs have been created representing a 9.7 per cent increase in employment compared to the UK average of four per cent growth, and 2.1 per cent growth in the North West.

Over the past four years the number of claimants in Ellesmere Port has reduced from 1,850 to 870.

Furthermore, there has been a 30 per cent growth in the number of Business Enterprises, compared to 15.1 per cent in the North West and 7.3 per cent for the UK.

There are currently 1,128 new homes currently under construction by Barratts, Redrow, Countryside, MacBryde Homes, Bellway, Persimmon, Magenta, Sanctuary, Linden Homes and Anwyl with 976 homes already completed.

Chris Farrow, chairman of the Ellesmere Port Development Board, said: “The report is very encouraging showing the impact the board and partners have had. We can now look forward to the next phase of investment with the new Enterprise Zone sites being a key focus to securing new business and employment opportunities.”

The review highlights over £400 million private sector and inward Investment to date including Regatta, Jaguar Land Rover / DHL, Westland Horticulture, Marks and Spencer, ESSAR, Peel (Protos), URENCO, Cheshire Oaks, University of Chester (Thornton Science Park) with a further £2 billion forecast.

Public Sector Support and Investment includes:

l £6m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to support £168m private sector investment

l £8m Local Growth Funding (LGF) to support Public Services Hub

l Enterprise Zone (EZ) status secured for 10 key sites as part of the Cheshire Science Corridor

l European Assisted Area Status secured 2014-2020

l Local Development Order (LDO) established for North Road Industrial Area

l Town Centre Improvement Programme (46 per cent of shops on Whitby Rd High Street improved)

l Newly-built Academy School, Sports Village, West Cheshire College Campus, parks and green space improvements and upgrading of key gateways and corridors to the town.

The review concludes that although very significant progress has been made, there are still “opportunities and challenges” remaining.

It encourages the Development Board and the council to drive the regeneration of the central area of Ellesmere Port and harness major investment activities in the pipeline throughout the town.