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Local Growth Fund sees £59m investment in SEMLEP area

9 March 2017

Ambitious projects to transform the South East Midlands into a ‘knowledge hub’ capable of competing on the world stage have been backed by £59million of Government cash.

The Local Growth Fund will help to kick-start a series of projects aimed at propelling the South East Midlands onto the world stage.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today unveiled the latest round of funding agreements, with £59million earmarked for projects outlined in a submission by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

Projects to be funded by the Government investment include: 

  • A new driving emissions centre to be built at MAHLE Powertrain in Northampton, with £2.1million of grant funding and creating 63 new jobs.
  • A £4m investment in Luton’s Cultural Quarter – contributing to 238 new jobs.
  • A £7.9m grant to complete the Northampton North West Relief Road between the A428 Harlestone Road and the A5199 Welford Road – contributing to 6,600 new homes and 3,613 new jobs.
  • The Bedford Southern Gateway project will receive £4.5m. The project is a series of junction improvements with technological developments along the Ampthill Road in Bedford from A421 roundabout to the Hospital. This should speed up journey times and make the town a more effective and attractive business and retail centre.

The funding builds on the previous settlements totalling £206m given to the SEMLEP area in the past two Local Growth Deals, money which has already been used to help provide the infrastructure needed to contribute towards thousands of new homes and jobs.

SEMLEP chief executive Stephen Catchpole said: “The Local Growth Fund money is essential to our ambitions of building a vibrant, successful and pioneering region which is leading the way in growing our local economy and creating thriving local communities whilst contributing significantly to the national economy.

“We have shown our ambition in previous Local Growth Deals and a number of those projects are now starting to become a reality. The new Northampton College campus in Daventry is helping to provide the workforce of the future while the Woodside Link road in Bedfordshire is transforming journey times and improving people’s everyday lives.

“We look forward to building on that success with the latest round of funding and getting a new wave of projects up and running, helping to provide the infrastructure needed to bring about even more growth.”

Today’s £59million investment will be used to help fund a series of new projects over the next four years, with a period of due diligence now set to take place to determine exactly where and when the money will be spent.

This will build on 17 projects funded in the first two rounds of SEMLEP’s Local Growth Deal, which included work to improve transport infrastructure around Bedford Western Bypass, development of the Milton Keynes Centre of Medicine and the Vulcan Ironworks in the Cultural Quarter in Northampton.

In addition, a further 10 projects have previously been funded in the former Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership area. Projects include the A45 Daventry Development Link and the food and drink innovation centre at Moulton College.

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair of SEMLEP, said: “The receipt of £59m funding in our area will enable SEMLEP partners to deliver some much needed and exciting projects. This programme of investment will provide the necessary infrastructure to deliver more growth, improve skills and productivity.

“SEMLEP is one of the country's major growth areas and I look forward to working with the Government to enable greater economic development across South East Midlands local authority areas.”

The funding builds on the recent National Infrastructure Commission report and the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, both of which earmarked the South East Midlands as a key area for future growth.

Mr Javid MP said: “Across the South East Midlands we are giving people the resources they need to support businesses, improve skills and create jobs. We’re investing £59m to spend on local projects which will benefit the lives of thousands of people across the region.”

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