18 August 2016: 11:23 am
Council presents its case to Heseltine
Lord Michael Heseltine visited Basildon in August to hear about opportunities for growth.
The former deputy prime minister came to the borough in his capacity as chair of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, tasked with developing a plan for south Essex, north Kent and east London up until 2050.
Basildon Council showcased the borough’s strengths in the manufacturing and engineering sectors.
Heseltine visited New Holland Architecture, the UK’s only tractor manufacturer, which employs 1,100 people in Basildon. He also met with a hi-tech startup responsible for GridKey, a system which helps electricity network operators monitor their networks and improve their service to domestic customers.
Bala Mahendran, Basildon Council’s chief executive, said: “Great businesses choose Basildon. We are in pole position to attract new and growing businesses. We are easily accessible by both UK and global markets and we offer great value for business investors with very competitive land values.
“But there are things we would like support for from central government to put us in an even stronger position. For example, we have a need to ensure that the whole of the borough is served by high grade broadband.
“We want to see much closer cooperation between industry and our schools and further and higher education colleges. And we would like to establish a real centre of excellence for high value manufacturing here in Basildon, bringing together the brightest engineering brains to bounce ideas off each other and create new products.”
The commission has issued a formal call for ideas with a deadline of 9 September 2016. Basildon Council is now putting together its response.
Heseltine said: “We are in the business of listening. If anyone has ideas to improve opportunities in this part of Essex, then tell us.”