Issue - meetings

WM Investment Zones

Meeting: 05/03/2024 - Cabinet (Item 2)

2 West Midlands Investment Zone pdf icon PDF 529 KB

A report which asks Cabinet to consider its membership of the WM Investment Zone initiative and Joint Committee in light of further information forthcoming since the November Cabinet meeting.


Cabinet Portfolio Holder – Councillor Isobel Seccombe

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Councillor Isobel Seccombe, Leader, introduced this report which followed a paper considered by Cabinet on the concept of the Investment Zone on 9 November 2023.  She reminded Cabinet that the West Midlands Investment Zone covered three distinct sites across the West Midlands Combined Authority region, with the subject of this report being the Coventry & Warwick Gigapark which was predominantly located within Warwick District, with a focus around the Coventry Airport site and plans for a Gigafactory to support the UK automotive sector.  This report provided an update particularly around the no detriment principle for Warwickshire County Council on business rates, investment finance for the Gigafactory, and governance arrangements, with recommendations for the County Council to participate in the West Midlands Investment Zone and to agree the Memorandum of Understanding with respect to business rates retention.


Councillor Seccombe explained the opportunities associated with Investment Zones, with the Gigapark alone expected to generate over 9,000 skilled jobs in engineering and advanced manufacturing together with over £2bn in growth.  She considered it was an exciting opportunity and expressed her thanks to those involved in the negotiations.


Councillor John Holland noted the challenges faced during the negotiations.  He also noted that the report stated there were no environmental implications associated with the decision which he suspected may not fully reflect the position. Councillor Timms explained that the report was focussed on the decision to take part in the Investment Zone.  Environmental concerns would have been considered during the planning permission process.  She considered that it should be noted that the site would support skills acquisition in the green industry and the sustainability of employment in that sector for young people was a valuable opportunity for the region.


Councillor Jonathan Chilvers noted that this was an important opportunity for the Council and, from a Warwick District Council perspective, he stated that negotiations were ongoing and a resolution was expected.


Councillor Roodhouse echoed comments around the opportunities presented by this project and asked for more clarity on the timeline so that he could better understand when the investment benefits would materialise. Councillor Seccombe advised that the final date to resolve negotiations was 1 April 2024.


Councillor Martin Watson expressed the view that the opportunities associated with the project were greater than the risks and emphasised the benefits relating to employment and growth.  Councillor Jan Matecki echoed these comments, noting that it would improve the attractiveness of the region for business.


Councillor Seccombe reiterated the employment and growth opportunities presented by the site and explained the financial opportunities that were set out in the report in relation to business rate retention to further drive growth and opportunities in the area. 




That Cabinet:


1.        Supports Warwickshire County Council’s participation in the West Midlands Investment Zone (WMIZ) and agrees to the Council becoming a member of such Investment Board, including any Joint Committee, established by the West Midlands Combined Authority relating to the WMIZ whose functions include oversight of the development of the GigaPark site; and


2.        Authorises  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2