North's second biggest Council claims 8,000 jobs will be created by 2026
UP to 8,000 jobs will be created in Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough by 2026, according to forecasts by the Council.
Speaking at an investor showcase event in London, Council chiefs said that the creation of the posts will be supported by £250 million pledged to be invested in the Borough through public private partnership initiatives over the period to 2020.
The figures were presented at a Council-hosted event at The Shard on the eve of its attendance at MIPIM UK 2017, the UK’s largest property and investment conference
The event was attended by more than 100 UK investors, developers, financial institutions and business leaders from the Borough.
Council leaders showcased a range of development prospects within the borough across a wide range of real estate segments, including hotels, retail, office, leisure and industrial property.
Deputy lord mayor Councillor Sam Nicholson told guests the figures would further enhance the Borough’s attractiveness as a place in which to invest.
He said: “The creation of thousands of new jobs – together with a significant investment commitment of a quarter-of-a-billion pounds – sends out a very strong message of confidence to new investors, developers and occupiers exploring opportunities in our Borough.
“As a Council we have identified the economy as our number one priority and are committed to working with partners to attract investment into the region.
"Our attendance at MIPIM UK is just one of the steps we are taking to actively promote our strong investment proposition – not only highlighting the Borough’s attractiveness as a place in which to invest, but also live, work, learn and visit.”
Roger Wilson, the council's chief executive, added: “We've seen considerable investment activity in the Borough in recent years – most recently welcoming the announcement of a new Marks & Spencer food hall at Craigavon, together with ongoing retail investment activity at Rushmere shopping centre and The Outlet in Banbridge.
“We have also seen a significant level of investment activity across the manufacturing sector in the Borough, including the £1 billion acquisition of Moy Park and a £10 million investment in Thompson Aero Seating in Portadown.
“Other major capital investment projects which will greatly enhance the Borough’s leisure and education provision are also in the pipeline and awaiting planning approval.
"The Council is investing over £30 million in a brand new, state-of-the-art leisure centre in Craigavon. This, along with an investment pledge of £95m in new, state-of-the-art further education facilities, attest to the high value that is placed on the Borough by the public sector.”
According to Mr Wilson, the Council is working with investors to offer advice, practical assistance and solutions at every stage of the investment journey, including support to guide investors through the planning and building control processes.
“Investors speak highly of the key assets in our Borough, such as our infrastructure and ability to service global markets, as well as our access to world-leading talent and the skills of our local workforce,” he said.
“Our cost-competitiveness also ranks highly as a key selling point for investors. As the largest council area in Northern Ireland outside of Belfast, we are operating in the most profitable location in the UK to do business, with operating costs 20 per cent lower than in Dublin and up to 50 per cent lower than the equivalent costs in London.”
He added: “Our message at MIPIM UK 2017 is very simple: Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough is very much open for business.
"We have an ambitious agenda for growth and a focus on development, with a strong long-term vision and place shaping agenda, and we will do absolutely everything in our power to make the investment journey straightforward.”