Professional services and engineering consultancy, WSP has been appointed as Partner to the Northern Powerhouse.
Jake Berry (pictured), The Northern Powerhouse Minister confirmed the WSP appointment saying: “Providing jobs and local growth lies at the heart of our vision for the Northern Powerhouse. I welcome engineering and professional consultancy firm, WSP, as the latest member of the Northern Powerhouse Partners’ programme.
“Their work on upgrading the M62 between Warrington and Manchester, the Stockport Interchange and the Metrolink extension are all clear indications that WSP share our ambitions for improving people’s journeys and boosting economic growth, developing transport networks between our great towns and cities.
He added: “We’re making the Northern Powerhouse a magnet for business, trade and tourism and this starts with making the North an even better place in which to live, work and travel.”
With more than 2,000 staff in the North across its Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Teesside offices, WSP is already intimately involved in delivering on the Northern Powerhouse's potential and has worked or led on a number of major infrastructure schemes including the £104m two-stage design and build smart motorways contract upgrading the M62 between Warrington (J10) and Manchester (J12).
WSP, which has two offices in Leeds, is also supporting Transport for the North (TfN), developing its plans for increasing the connectivity between northern cities, as well as helping other local authorities develop masterplan and regeneration schemes across a number of towns and key hubs.
Its work with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) on major schemes such as the Stockport Interchange and the Metrolink extension and tram station at Trafford, helped single out WSP during the partnership application process, demonstrating its knowledge and support of the Northern Powerhouse ambitions for 2019 and beyond.
Its biodiversity and sustainability directors have also been working for some years with Green Manchester and Liverpool City Council to promote and deliver on its clean energy strategies. Only last month WSP Sustainability Director Simon Clouston was appointed to a key secondment on the UK Green Building Council which has its sights firmly set up on supporting and highlighting its progressive work in Greater Manchester and the North.
Across the Pennines in South Yorkshire, the WSP transport, environmental and technical teams have been involved in supporting the Sheffield Innovation Corridor which is part of a Sheffield City Region bid for the Government’s £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund; whilst in neighbouring Leeds, the design and transport divisions have been helping to drive progress on the Leeds LPTiP transport strategy.
The WSP Partnership appointment comes hot on the heels of the Chancellor’s recent Budget announcement that saw a further injection of £37m earmarked for Northern Powerhouse Rail. The recent decision by Channel 4 to bring its HQ to Leeds is another testament to the success of the Northern Powerhouse strategy of promoting and celebrating key industries, such as creative digital and media, that demonstrate the tangible growth of the Northern economy.
WSP Managing Director of Planning and Advisory Ian Liddell, said: “WSP is committed to the success of the Northern Powerhouse and is delighted to continue our work with all the stakeholders, communities and political leaders to make this a true partnership that delivers long term benefits for all the regions.
“We aim to be a very active and vocal partner that will champion the North’s innovation, transport improvements, skills and job opportunities, culture and tourism; demonstrating the North is connected and energised. We want to enable the Northern economy as a whole to be greater than a sum of its parts and attract new inward investment that taps into the wealth of skills, opportunity and ambition we all have to offer. Moving into our new offices at No 8 First Street shortly also demonstrates our commitment to Manchester and the North as a whole.”
The Northern Powerhouse itself will enable individual cities and towns of the North to pool their strengths, investing in better transport to connect up the North; backing sciences and innovation; investing in culture, housing and the quality of life to make the North a magnet for new businesses and talented people; and devolving powers and budgets, and creating powerful new elected mayors to give people in Northern cities and towns a strong voice.