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News & Events

Three ministerial visits in one day

16 July 2015

Transport Minister visits Woodside Link

New Transport Minister, Andrew Jones MP, officially launched construction of the Woodside Link road in Central Bedfordshire this afternoon during a visit to the site.

The Minister saw first-hand how the SEMLEP funded scheme will bring vital connectivity to new housing developments, the A5-M1 Link road, a new M1 motorway junction 11a, and the industrial areas of Houghton Regis and Dunstable.

SEMLEP funded the transport project, providing £20m of funding from its Local Growth Fund. In addition Woodside Link received £5m from the Government’s Pinch Point Fund and £1m from developers.

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair of SEMLEP said “SEMLEP is delighted that the Woodside Link project in Dunstable, with £20m of funding from SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund, is now underway. This new road will play a vital role in opening up housing and commercial development sites in Houghton Regis to enable the delivery of over 2,000 new jobs and 5,150 new homes by 2031.”

Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council, added: “The Woodside Link plays a vital role in unlocking nearly £2 billion of investment in housing, communities, business and infrastructure. For Dunstable and Houghton Regis it is bringing regeneration while relieving town centres of congestion.”

Earlier in the day the Transport Minister opened the M1’s new Junction 10a, a project which has resulted in dual carriageway now going straight through to London Luton Airport.

This M1 Junction project was funded through Regional Growth Fund money paid to Luton Borough Council and supported by SEMLEP. The £29million is set to unlock around £800million of development, to include housing, employment and retail growth throughout the south and east of Luton.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “This scheme will make it easier for people to access London Luton Airport and the M1, providing better journeys for residents and businesses and supporting more housing and jobs. The Government is committed to investing in faster and more reliable transport links. This road scheme is part of our long-term economic plan to deliver benefits for everyone.”

Nick Barton, SEMLEP Envoy and CEO of London Luton Airport, said: “Today’s official opening of Junction 10a is a milestone for both Luton and the transformation of London Luton Airport. Modern integrated transport networks are essential to economic growth and today’s event recognises the considerable efforts put in by Luton Borough Council, SEMLEP and BIS in making this happen.

“The improved junction will have an immediate beneficial impact on the Airport and will directly support the £100 million expansion programme currently underway, which will increase capacity by 50% in the next 10 years.”

On the same day Minister for Local Growth James Wharton visited SEMLEP’s Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone, launched in 2011 when SEMLEP received government backing to regenerate nearly 120 hectares of brownfield land along the town’s river front. During the visit Mr Wharton officially opened the next round of bidding for new Enterprise Zones across the UK, adding that any of the country’s existing 24 zones would also be able to bid to expand.

He said: “With this new round of Enterprise Zones even more areas and businesses will be able to benefit from the support they bring. Only the very best bids will succeed, but this is a chance for council leaders and businesses to make their case and secure a real boost to the local economy.”

Dr Ann Limb, CBE DL, SEMLEP Chair and Chair of SEMLEP’s Enterprise Zone Advisory Group, said: “Companies from high growth industries are now keen to move to Northampton and to do business here. Our Enterprise Zone is key to the town’s thriving economy and is forging a reputation as an automotive and manufacturing centre of excellence.” 

Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone

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