A total of more than £50m has been allocated by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership in a fresh injection of funding which will deliver up to 10,000 new jobs.
The schemes in Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare will benefit from the cash from the Revolving Infrastructure Fund which was set up to remove barriers and allow developments to go ahead. The Partnership, which brings together private sector business with the four local authorities, has acted to galvanise work across the area, and is funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
Almost £21m will go into the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone in Bristol to pay for 17 pieces of highways, road and pedestrian infrastructure and the remodelling of the Temple Circus roundabout in order provide access.
£13m is destined for Bath to allow development to go ahead in its Riverside Enterprise Area, removing high-pressure gas infrastructure, providing flood relief measures and two new bridges across the River Avon.
The Junction 21 Enterprise Area close to the M5 will benefit from a £12m injection to provide crucial flood relief measures and a separate scheme which will increase outbound capacity at the motorway junction.
Gainsborough Square in Bristol will see £750,000 to help with new public realm works and an improved highways infrastructure as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Lockleaze.
Partnership Chairman Colin Skellett said he was delighted to be able to make the announcement: “When the Local Enterprise Partnership was set up we said our primary task was to remove barriers to economic growth and free up business to increase the number of jobs. In fact we set ourselves an ambitious target of 95,000 new jobs by 2030. This is an important step towards that goal, using money from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, to clear away blockages which will allow development to go ahead.”
Vice Chairman Councillor Nigel Ashton, the leader of North Somerset Council, was just as pleased: “This is a very significant moment because it provides concrete evidence of what the Local Enterprise Partnership can achieve and it proves that we can take a strategic view of where the best places are to use limited resources in order to achieve the maximum benefit.”
Business Minister, Michael Fallon said: “Today’s news that more than £50 million of Regional Growth Fund money will be coming to the West of England is a real boost for the area and its infrastructure. The real story is the thousands of jobs that the fund is creating and the companies that it’s helping. Success stories like this are happening up and down the country thanks to the Regional Growth Fund.”
The Local Enterprise Partnership had previously approved the allocation of almost £6m on two other developments at Dolphin Square (£540k), and Filwood Green Business Park (£5.338m). Today’s announcement means that £52m of the available £56.7m has now been allocated to schemes. The £4m left will increase to approximately £10m by 2016/17 once repayments are factored in.
The funding will be paid back over the next few years, using a combination of the retention of business rates, new homes bonus, arrangements with developers through Section 106 agreements or the Community Infrastructure Levy.
Temple Quarter Details: Works to the Wells Road enabling access to the diesel depot site. Access routes across the depot site. Bridges improving pedestrian and cycle access to the Zone. Junction improvements enabling rapid transit access direct to Temple Quarter and an anti-clockwise city centre loop (works are additional to
the Major Scheme). Public realm improvements on Cattle Market Road linking up with the Homes and Communities Agency funded bridge that provides access to the diesel depot site.
Bath details: Removal of the high-pressure gas infrastructure will release three major development sites from a Health and Safety Executive enforced exclusion zone around the plant. No development can take place on these three sites until the exclusion zone is lifted. The upstream flood scheme will serve six of the identified development sites in the EA reducing planning risk and up-front costs for them.
Provision of the first new bridge (the Destructor Bridge) overcomes a planning condition for the existing Bath Western Riverside development that prevents development beyond 650 homes until the new bridge is in place. The North Quay to South Quays Bridge provides required access from the town centre across to South Quays; both sites are served by the flood relief scheme.
Junction 21 details: Development depends on overcoming flooding problems which this scheme will overcome. The J21 outbound capacity scheme complements the wider major scheme works to Junction 21 and will have benefits for existing and new business by improving access to the motorway from the Junction 21.
The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.4 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015. It supports projects and programmes with significant potential for economic growth that can create additional, sustainable private sector employment. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities which were dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.