JCB’S historic expansion and the development of the A50 have convinced Uttoxeter’s county councillor a 700-home development is ‘the right thing’ for his town.
Geoff Morrison’s call for more housing to support the JCB expansion echoes that of developer Gleeson, which has entered plans to build 140 houses on land at Roycroft Farm.
Although Councillor Morrison is opposed to the Roycroft Farm project and signed a protest petition against it, he believes ‘significant’ housing must be erected to capitalise on JCB’s 2,500-job expansion.
He has now added his public backing to a plan for 700 homes, shops and a primary school on land west of town.
Councillor Morrison said: “2013 ends with an avalanche of good news - 2,500 new jobs at JCB and 7,500 in its supply chain.
“You probably wouldn’t have predicted this a year ago but I welcome the news for Staffordshire, the fastest growing part of the fastest growing economy in the developed world.
“A big vote of thanks must go to our local MP, Andrew Griffiths, who has pulled out all the stops to assist this reduction in unemployment and we mustn’t forget the ground work put in by Philip Atkins and the county council.
“What a wonderful Christmas present for the town,”
“We now have to take advantage of this boost in the local economy and ensure that Uttoxeter expands accordingly.”
JCB’s £150 million investment was announced days after a £40 million project to help traffic flow on the A50 in Uttoxeter.
The work will be carried out in 2014 and will involve building flyovers across the A50 at the McDonalds and Derby Road roundabouts.
Councillor Morrison said: “I know a lot of residents, particularly in Tunnicliffe Way, are concerned about traffic being diverted into town and residential areas.
“But, having seen detailed plans for the A50 development, I think that will effectively solve the problem and keep traffic on the dual carriageway.
“If you look at the population of this town, it hasn’t really grown significantly in the last 150 years.
“Census material has shown there were 6,000 residents in the 1850s and now there around 10,000.
“This is one of the problems with Uttoxeter’s economy and, along with the Carter’s Square development, expansion should bring more affluence to town.
“The loss of shops including Buxton and Bonnett have really saddened me.
“Losing Buxton and Bonnett is like losing the crown jewels for this town.
“I’ve always got the kids’ uniforms from there and have bought clothes for myself for a long time from there.
“It’s the kind of place you’d go when you needed to get something of higher quality. I’d go there when I needed a dinner jacket.”