The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, SEMLEP, has today been awarded a Local Growth Deal of £64.6 million investment into the area – set to create over 4,200 new jobs and more than 3,800 new homes by 2020.
In March 2014 SEMLEP submitted its economic growth strategy, the ‘Strategic Economic Plan’, to government, pitching for a share of the £2billion Local Growth Fund.
Dan Rogerson MP, Minister for Water, Forestry and Rural Affairs, visited the South East Midlands today to share the announcement with local authority leaders.
The Minister confirmed that seven major strategic projects across the South East Midlands – an area which covers Aylesbury, Banbury, Bedford, Bicester, Daventry, Kettering, Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Milton Keynes, Northampton - have been awarded funding, with an initial £20.1 million confirmed for 2015/16 and a further £23.9 million to be spent by 2021. The Government has also provisionally earmarked a further £20.6 million for projects starting in 2016/17. This is in addition to the £14.7 million for major transport schemes already announced.
Dr Ann Limb OBE DL, Chair of SEMLEP, said: “We are delighted that our Strategic Economic Plan has been agreed by government and that we have secured essential funding for much needed, local and strategic projects which will drive growth across the area and deliver the necessary infrastructure to enable new homes to be built and new employment sites to be developed.
“This funding will provide support to new and existing businesses to enable them to grow, it will encourage inward investment and ensure that young people improve their skills levels and are better able to meet the needs of local businesses.”
Andrew Selous MP for South West Bedfordshire said “I’m delighted to see the funding for the Woodside Link. This road is vital to reduce congestion and help businesses create even more jobs around the Woodside Industrial Estate. It’s excellent to see engineering and construction skills training coming to Leighton Buzzard to help the many growing businesses in the area to find the skilled workforce they need.”
James Jamieson, SEMLEP Director and Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "The Local Growth Deal is excellent news for SEMLEP. It will enable much needed infrastructure to be provided across the SEMLEP area that will unlock new jobs and homes. We welcome the commitment to work with LEPs to improve careers guidance to ensure that our young people acquire the skills that employers need.”
Today’s announcement confirms that SEMLEP has been awarded the following funding:
£23.5m to complete dualling along a stretch of the A421 which will result in uninterrupted dual carriageway from Milton Keynes to Bedford
£20m for Bedfordshire’s Woodside Link, a new road which will connect Houghton Regis and the industrial estates in Dunstable to the planned new M1 junction 11a
£800,000 to promote sustainable transport choices within Luton and Dunstable through Central Bedfordshire’s Smarter Routes into Employment programme
£6.5m for Northampton College to fund a purpose built campus in Daventry town centre which will focus on vocational facilities and a curriculum that meets the needs of local employers.
£2.5m to build a new engineering and construction skills centre in Leighton Buzzard, which will train young people and adults to work as technicians.
£1.5m to develop Bletchley Station and create a high quality station gateway that will connect several recent developments and provide a catalyst for further investment.
The government has also provisionally earmarked £20.6 million for two projects: a link road within SEMLEP’s Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone and improved access to London Luton Airport.
SEMLEP supported two overlapping LEPs with their applications for the Local Growth Fund, confirmed as successful in today's announcement. These were around £6 million for the Daventry Development Link, awarded to Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) and around £16 million for the Aylesbury Eastern Link Road and Stocklake Link Road, awarded to Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP).
The total investment from government will unlock an additional £45.3 million of investment from local partners and the private sector.