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Minister Greg Clark MP signs £79.3m deal for South East Midlands

9 January 2015

A £79.3million investment into the South East Midlands has today given the official go-ahead, with Minister Greg Clark MP signing a Local Growth Deal that will create at least 3,000 jobs and 4,000 new homes in the area by 2021.

SEMLEP has also supported three overlapping Local Enterprise Partnerships with their bids, securing an additional £42.9million which takes the total investment for the South East Midlands to over £122million.

The Minister for Universities and Science signed the £79.3million growth funding package at the national Transport Systems Catapult Centre, which is based in Milton Keynes. Local MPs and businesses joined the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) board to take part in the signing ceremony.

The funding will pay for 10 transport, infrastructure and skills projects in Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Bletchley, Daventry, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Universities, Science and Cities Minister, Greg Clark said: “It is great to be signing this Growth Deal and to be giving the South East Midlands more say in how investment is made in the region. Nobody has a greater commitment to this area than the people who live and work here, and it is only right that local people should be the architects of their own growth.

“The potential in this area is enormous and this deal will ensure we create thousands of jobs, build new homes and help businesses to grow and prosper.”

Dr Ann Limb OBE DL, Chair of SEMLEP, said: “Securing government approval for our multi-million pound investment package is an exciting day for the whole area. This will enable us to target investment where it is most needed, creating more jobs, homes, employment sites and opportunities for local people. It will also help to ensure that our young people can acquire the essential skills to meet the needs of local employers.

“SEMLEP will receive the funding annually in advance from this April. This shows that the government has confidence in the arrangements that are in place for ensuring that these projects are implemented within budget and deliver the expected growth in jobs.”

The investment package signed today will fund:

  • Dualling a stretch of the A421 (£23.5m) which means that people will be able to drive from Milton Keynes to Bedford on dual carriageway and distribution centres will have better access to the M1. This will create 2,500 new jobs and 2,900 new homes.
  • Central Bedfordshire’s Woodside Link (£20m), a new road which will connect Houghton Regis and the industrial estates in Dunstable to the planned new M1 junction 11a and create 5,800 much needed new jobs and 5,150 new homes.
  • The Bedford Western Bypass (£2.5m) which will reduce the volume of traffic travelling through the town and complete a route that will link  the A428 south of Bedford to the A6  north of the town. Work has now started and the project is set to create 1,000 new jobs and 1,300 homes.
  • A sustainable travel scheme in Luton and Dunstable (£800,000), being delivered through Central Bedfordshire’s Smarter Routes into Employment programme.
  • A purpose built campus in Daventry town centre (£6.5m) for Northampton College, to focus on giving students skills that meet the needs of local employers. This is set to create 70 new jobs.
  • The Engineering Construction Skills Centre in Leighton Buzzard (£2.5m), which will train young people and adults to work as technicians and create 305 new jobs.
  • The development of a high quality gateway at Bletchley Station (£1.5m) which will create 350 new jobs.
  • Improved highway access for London Luton Airport (£1.2m) and the wider business estate which will reduce delays and help passengers get to the airport in time for their flights. This project will create 1,060 new jobs.
  • Improved surface access for London Luton Airport (£20m) and its adjacent Century Park, which will help grow airport related activity, the aerospace and high end engineering sectors. Funding will be delivered in 2016/17 and create 5,050 new jobs.
  • A link road to St James’ Mill Road in Northampton (£600,000) which will join up two stretches of road to create an effective ring road that will reduce  congestion and journey times in this busy part of SEMLEP’s Enterprise Zone.

Download SEMLEP's detailed Strategic Economic Plan here.

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