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“Once-in-a-generation” East Midlands Development Corporation moves a step closer after £2m government fund is approved

Published: Wednesday 03 March 2019

• £2 million government fund will be released this month to establish a body to deliver development opportunities;

• Economic vision of the new body will be taken to MIPIM at Cannes next week, the world’s biggest property show;

• Scale, scope and powers of the body will now be established.


Plans to establish an East Midlands Development Corporation to realise a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the region’s economy have moved a step closer – after the government signed off a £2 million fund to start to establish a body to deliver development opportunities, and define its scope and powers.

The funding was announced by the Chancellor Philip Hammond at last year’s Conservative Party Conference and since then, a powerful consortium of East Midlands civic and business leaders have banded together to agree an action plan for the Development Corporation.

The focus will be on maximising and accelerating development opportunities and strategic transport connectivity across the East Midlands, and particularly around the HS2 station at Toton, East Midlands Airport, SEGRO Logistics Park, Chetwynd Barracks and Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, which is due to be decommissioned by 2025.

The Development Corporation will aim to encourage and bring forward the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs and thousands of new homes on these sites in the coming decades.

An interim oversight board met this week (Monday 4th March) – chaired by Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace – to update officials on next steps, including the confirmation that £2 million to start to establish a body to deliver development opportunities has been signed off by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and will be released by the end of March.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, who is also the Government’s Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion, informed Sir John Peace of the decision last week.

The economic opportunities presented by the Development Corporation will now be promoted to investors next week at MIPIM in Cannes, the world’s largest property show, as part of an £11 billion portfolio of Midlands projects.

The first meeting of the interim oversight board included representatives from Midlands Engine, Midlands Connect, D2N2 LEP, East Midlands Chamber, East Midlands Airport, city, county and borough councils from across the region, HS2 Ltd, Highways England and universities.

The meeting outlined what comes next for the Development Corporation, including three significant commissions in the coming months:

  • Businesses, research institutions and regional stakeholders will be brought together to refine the investment proposition and development plans;
  • A detailed assessment of the economic value of bringing the development sites together will be made, including how the Development Corporation can accelerate the creation of new jobs, increased productivity and housing in the region;
  • A route map for the incorporation of the body will be outlined to understand its scope, powers and responsibilities, including learning from successful development corporations from around the world.


Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine said:

This corporation presents the East Midlands with a unique opportunity to drive economic growth and prosperity, capitalise on HS2 investment at Toton and wider infrastructure plans for our region, benefiting cities, towns and our rural areas.

“Together we can make the East Midlands the place to live, learn and do business in. We are a region of 4.7 million people, a significant economic area with a world class reputation for advanced manufacturing and life sciences, yet productivity and earnings are below the UK average.

“By capitalising on development opportunities focused around improved infrastructure, we have real potential to address barriers to productivity and turn it in to economic growth. To achieve that, this Development Corporation must embrace the support of the private and public sectors to give world class corporations the confidence to invest in our region.”

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect, said:

“The vision for this Development Corporation has to be supported with strategic transport connections, particularly by linking the HS2 East Midlands Hub at Toton quickly and efficiently with Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and East Midlands Airport. Midlands Connect is working with East Midlands Councils to develop these transformational plans.

“I have no doubt that the ambitious vision this corporation has now set out will reinvigorate the case for HS2 in the East Midlands as a catalyst for unparalleled growth. It is now up to all of us to remain united in our desire to use this opportunity to see the East Midlands reach its full potential.

Karen Smart, Managing Director of East Midlands Airport, said:

“A new Development Corporation begins to join the dots and brings together all the key players who need to work with each other to develop a shared vision for where this region wants to be in the future. Growth is already happening, and the airport is a key driver for much of this, but it’s important that we’re aligned to what else is going on locally to ensure that we’re not working in isolation.

“We need to start shouting from the roof tops about this vibrant region’s potential, which has so much more to offer. With high-speed rail, global connectivity through our airport and great road links, the East Midlands could become one of the most desirable regions in which to invest, do business and live.”

The interim oversight board will meet again in June 2019.