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More than £75m to be invested in Marches economy

More than £75 million is to be invested into the Marches area economy to create thousands of homes and jobs it has been revealed today (MON).

The private sector-led Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, made up of business and local authority leaders, has been successful in securing the support from the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

The deal includes £12.8m for 2015/16 which will go to key projects in Telford and Hereford which will deliver up to 6,000 jobs and 3,000 homes. Nearly £42m has been earmarked for follow-on projects across the wider Marches region over the following five years.

The Marches Growth Deal brings together different funding streams designed to support local growth in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin and will generate up to £20 million in private investment.

The first two projects being supported by the deal will be the £17.4m Telford Growth Package and £33.5m Hereford City Centre Transport Package, which will have guaranteed funding for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The Telford project will see improvements to key junctions, utilities and infrastructure delivering three employment and housing extension sites.* The Hereford scheme includes a new link road, integrated with the city centre, delivering retail, leisure, tourism, employment, housing, and other development. **

A further £41.83 million has been provisionally allocated for projects planned for 2016-17 onwards, including the £10m Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package and £5.2m Telford Eastern Gateway scheme.

Also part of the 2016-2021 deal are the Oxon Link Road, Telford Bus Station redevelopment, the South Wye Transport Package and more than £3m for skills projects in the Marches.

Chairman of the Marches LEP Graham Wynn said: “This investment package, including £12.8m in the first year of the deal, will see great progress being made on key infrastructure projects in our three urban centres which will create thousands of jobs and homes for the people of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

“These are transport schemes which will unlock development sites, they are important pieces of work which need to be completed if we are to tackle a number of other schemes which will also drive economic growth in the region.”

The Growth Deal also sees a number of commitments being made both by the LEP and Central Government to deliver further growth in the region. These include discussions on a potential investment fund for the region and taking a proactive co-ordination role between the local authorities on long term strategic rail and road network planning.

The deal also commits to working with the Marches LEP to review the case for sharing land sale receipts of agreed Homes and Communities Agency sites in Telford where a local share could potentially support a Marches Investment Fund.

Councillor Kuldip Sahota, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “Thousands of new jobs and new homes will be created in Telford thanks to the transport and housing improvements which will be funded by this deal.

“Key employment and housing sites will be opened up by this infrastructure work, accelerating growth for the benefit of the people who live and work here. We’re also delighted to see improvements at Telford bus station in the pipeline for funding – this scheme will support the current regeneration work at Telford Town Centre.”

Mr Wynn added: “The public and private sector partners are looking forward to the next phase in our LEP’s work, working in partnership with the Government to fulfil the commitments in this Growth Deal.

“I’m also pleased that the deal will support the creation of a Marches Growth Hub to provide comprehensive and easily accessible information and advice to new and established businesses in the area, giving them the right support at the right time.”

The Government will provide £250,000 to the LEP for the Growth Hub, and the LEP will also invest £100,000 in the project which aims to simplify business support so that it joins up national, local, public and private assistance available to businesses.

Herefordshire businessman and chairman of the Hereford Enterprise Zone Board, Bill Jackson, said the deal was key to unlocking the potential of the city and its investment prospects.

“This is great news, both for the city and for the businesses which operate here and wish to invest here. The Marches LEP and central Government have recognised the impact that a A49/A465 link road would have on helping to develop the potential of the Enterprise Zone at Skylon Park.

“The South Wye package will reduce congestion thanks to the link road, but importantly it will unlock potential leading to the creation of hundreds of jobs and homes,” he added.

Skylon Park is the designated Enterprise Zone of the Marches LEP. The LEP retains the business rate uplift generated by new companies locating their operations in the Enterprise Zone, providing income for the LEP Board to spend on projects across the wider Marches area.

Click on the below link for detals of the Marches Growth Deal

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