Jigsaws. Funny things.

Without that picture on the box, it’s hard to know what you’re trying to create.

And although some of the pieces might be interesting in their own right, they mean a lot more when they’re put together.

Encouraging economic prosperity is a bit like that.

It’s not about individual projects happening in isolation. It’s about lots of projects coming together to realise a more strategic vision.

Projects interlinking to create a wider environment and infrastructure that matches the image on the box.

Of course, making it happen isn’t easy. Not by a long shot.

But it’s important to have that picture to work towards.

Wrexham County Borough Economic Prosperity Strategy – ‘the picture on the box.’

eps…not esp

In Wrexham, that picture is called the Economic Prosperity Strategy (not to be confused with ESP – different thing altogether).

It sets out a vision for the county borough. A place where people want to live, work, visit and invest, where businesses can locate and grow, and where people can prosper individually and within their communities.

So that’s our picture. What about the pieces?

There are lots of them. And some pretty big ones have been falling into place recently.

public-sector pieces

Let’s start with Wrexham Industrial Estate – the economic engine-room of the county borough, where over 300 businesses and 7,500 employees are based.

A £35m government-funded access road has helped improve traffic flow in and out of the estate, benefitting companies already based there…and helping to attract new ones.

Another key project is the Western Gateway.

New road infrastructure has set the stage for the creation of a flagship, low-carbon business development close to Glyndwr University and the NHS Maelor Hospital – effectively expanding the town’s existing technology park.

And in my last blog-post, I looked at Viable and Vibrant Places – a multi-million pound project that will help regenerate our town centre (I won’t repeat it all here – read Disruptive Technologies for details).

But maybe the most headline-grabbing news is Wrexham being chosen as the site for a new ‘super prison.’

The £250m facility will be the largest in the UK, creating around one thousand jobs during construction and 750 jobs once complete.

Not mention the potential knock-on benefits for local businesses from various services outsourced by the prison.

private-sector pieces

Of course, it’s not just public sector-led investment that counts.

Big companies that put money into Wrexham play a huge part in creating an environment where other businesses want to operate…and where people want to live, work, study and so on.

Recent examples include JCB. The global construction-plant manufacturer is increasing production in Wrexham – part of a £150m investment in its UK operations.

Data-services provider Avox also announced plans last month to double its workforce in Wrexham, creating around 200 new jobs.

While home-grown success stories like Nu Instruments and Moneypenny continue to grow.

big picture

I’m merely skimming the surface.

There are stacks of other things happening out there that will encourage economic prosperity in Wrexham. A thriving university. Commercial and residential development. Skills and training programmes. And so on.

All of them are important in their own right.

But it’s only when you put them together – and realise they’re helping to create that picture on the box – that you understand their true value.

They help us create a place where people want to live, businesses want to locate, and individuals can reach their potential.

The pieces of the jigsaw come together. And the picture starts to emerge.