WSP, the Leeds-based professional services and engineering consultancy, has been appointed as Partner to the Northern Powerhouse.
“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,” said Northern Powerhouse Minster Jake Berry.
“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.”
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 £104 million 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.
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 £1.7 billion 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.”