North Warwickshire Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan

The Economic Strategy sets out a clear direction of travel for North Warwickshire, providing a long-term framework to deliver positive, focused interventions to secure a more sustainable economy.

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The Economic Strategy sets out a clear direction of travel for North Warwickshire, providing a long-term framework to deliver positive, focused interventions to secure a more sustainable economy. The Strategy is a refresh of the 2019 Draft Economic Strategy, creating a response to the new challenges and opportunities as the country continues its recovery from the pandemic and navigates a more uncertain economic, geopolitical and technological environment.    

The Economic Strategy outlines our vision as to where we want the Borough to be by 2030, underpinned by four strategic themes:

  • Supporting business growth and innovation
  • Securing a pipeline of talent
  • Enabling investment in infrastructure
  • Supporting vibrant town and service centres. 

The challenge

The challenges included:

  • Providing a comprehensive strategy and action plan that balanced ambition with pragmatism, in terms of focusing delivery in areas that will make a difference.
  • Responding to significant changes in the macroeconomic context and public funding arena. (The dynamic nature of economic development and the public funding landscape was demonstrated by the recent announcement that the Levelling Up Round 2 bid for Atherstone was unsuccessful.)   
  • Responding to some of the unique economic challenges facing the Borough, including:
    • Broadening the Borough’s business base and supporting innovation to make our economy more resilient. It will ensure that the Borough is not over-reliant on one industry, e.g. logistics, so that it puts future prosperity at risk.
    • Although unemployment is, generally, low, challenges remain, including creating better quality local jobs and making sure local residents have the skills to fill them.
    • Raising aspirations and improving the links between local businesses and learning providers.
    • Encouraging more employment in the rural areas, whilst at the same time retaining the borough’s unique landscape and rurality.
    • Investing in town centres and responding to the needs of projected population and housing growth
  • Developing a concise, simpler and easy-to-read strategy and action plan for a range of different audiences 
  • Ensuring that the strategy and action plan is based on clear evidence and profiling (despite the lack of some local information and intelligence). 
  • Providing clear priorities, themes and actions
  • Ensuring that the strategy and action plan recognises and responds to the limited resources and provides a clear direction of travel for the borough council in terms of its role and areas of responsibility. 

The solution

The Strategy and Action Plan has involved extensive consultation with stakeholders and partners from the public and private sectors. It sets out an exciting vision and set of priority themes, based on evidence, need and opportunity.

It provides a framework for the borough council to use its powers and responsibilities to create an inclusive, diverse and vibrant economy, in which:

  • Local residents have the skills to access high-quality, well-paying jobs;
  • Businesses, residents and public sector partners have embedded practices that deliver net zero targets;
  • Our town and village centres are focal points for community activity and are attractive to new, high spending visitors; and
  • Public, private and voluntary sector partners work in partnership to champion the Borough and to secure the best deals for its residents and businesses.  

The impact

This is a strategy for the borough. Its future success and impacts will depend on the public, private and voluntary sectors working together towards common goals that support the strategy’s vision. The intention is to use the strategy to generate a new spirit of collaboration between government, our public sector partners and local businesses, which will ensure that the impact and influence of sustainable economic growth are fully realised, whilst protecting our distinctive rural environment.      

North Warwickshire Borough Council has a key role in building partnerships, using its assets and procurement to support local economic growth, securing external funding, setting strategic direction, and acting as the coordinator and convenor to enable partners to deliver, where they are best placed to do so.

How is the new approach being sustained?

The Economic Development Strategy sets the framework for North Warwickshire Borough Council and focuses on our commitments to deliver a better result both for the local economy, our communities and the environment.

The council has engaged with partners from the public, private and community / voluntary sector in developing the Strategy and Action Plan. These conversations will continue and be built upon as the action plan is further developed and delivered over the coming months and years. It is a strategy for North Warwickshire, which will entail collaboration and partnership working amongst public agencies, and the private and third sectors.

Developing the strategy has been, and will continue to be, an iterative process. It is based on the most recent evidence and data available and will be updated and refreshed, as necessary, as new evidence emerges, to ensure it remains relevant.

The action plan is flexible and will be updated and adapted to exploit funding and investment opportunities for North Warwickshire.

The council will coordinate its economic development resources effectively at a corporate level, so there are clear points of contact for economic development matters and so that the actions within the strategy are delivered and communicated internally and externally to business, public and private sector partners.

Lessons learned

  • Balancing strategic direction with practical and deliverable actions.
  • The importance of collaboration and partnership working.
  • Building a strong evidence base to guide interventions and actions
  • Recognise and focus on where the borough council can have the greatest impact.