Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) has today secured a deal with the Government’s Local Growth Fund which looks set to be worth £74.1 million to support economic growth.
The deal has confirmed £18.2 million of funding for 2015/16 and has made an initial commitment of £55.9 million for 2016 onwards.
This substantial investment from the Government will unlock an additional £32.9 million of investment from local partners and £0.4 million from the private sector which taken in the round will create a total investment package of £107.5 million for Coventry and Warwickshire.
The CWLEP brings together Warwickshire County Council; the Districts of North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick; Coventry City Council; Coventry University; the University of Warwick and private sector representatives.
Coventry and Warwickshire’s Growth Deal supports the local area’s aspirations to build on its advanced manufacturing and engineering strengths by investing in new transport infrastructure to improve connections with other cities and towns and tackle congestion on the area’s roads; drive innovation in advanced manufacturing and engineering through the provision of new research and design and business support facilities; supporting businesses to flourish by providing effective business advice and support; and growing local skills and talent by investing in Further Education Colleges.
Today’s announcement means the go ahead for:
- Delivery of the North-South Rail and Coventry Station scheme, which will improve passenger capacity and secure an increase in train service frequency between Coventry-Bedworth-Nuneaton and a bay platform at Coventry Station
- Provision of new Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering “Grow On” Space for small and medium enterprises at Ansty Park in Rugby. This new facility will complement the work of the Manufacturing Technology Centre
- Develop a new Skills Centre at Coventry City College. This will provide support for young and unemployed people in acquiring skills for employment, and for marginalised groups to acquire basic skills especially English and mathematics
- Develop a new Apprenticeship Centre at Warwickshire College. This investment will enable the college to purchase new equipment and refurbish college buildings, which will provide additional apprenticeship training in advanced manufacturing and engineering
- Provision of new business start-up facilities at Progress House in Stratford-upon-Avon by converting an existing local authority building into a state-of-the-art facility
- Delivery of the Coventry City Centre road access project that will unlock housing growth, support retail regeneration and city centre employment accessibility.
The following projects have provisional allocations starting in 2016/17 and beyond:
- Delivery of the A46/A425/A4177 Stanks road network scheme. This will enhance access to services and facilities. This includes enhancing access to Warwick town centre and facilitates future employment and housing growth
- Delivery of the A5 Corridor scheme. This will enable the dualling of the A5/A47 Longshoot to Dodwells which will reduce congestion, improve journey time reliability and support economic activity in Warwickshire and Leicestershire
- Improve links to UK Central, Birmingham Airport and High Speed 2. This scheme will improve key junctions connecting the major employment sites of the University of Warwick, Whitley, Coventry and Warwickshire Gateway and Ansty (via the enhanced A46 corridor) to major national and international gateways.
Jonathan Browning, chairman of the CWLEP, said: “There is a lot to be pleased with in our new Growth Deal. It will enable the CWLEP and its partners to build on recent successes in creating the opportunities for more jobs and economic growth.
“The growth projects which will benefit from this funding will lead to improved transport infrastructure across the area, will give opportunities for more entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses and will further encourage companies who specialise in technology and innovation to make Coventry and Warwickshire their home.
“While this news is encouraging, we all still recognise that we are not yet fulfilling the true potential of Coventry and Warwickshire. There is work to be done to increase efficiency and effectiveness across all CWLEP partners. Increased funding of important growth projects in the future will require us all to work more closely together and put aside some historical practices for the benefit of the whole of Coventry and Warwickshire.”
Cllr Ann Lucas, leader of Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, said today’s announcement would enable the area to build on its increasing reputation as a globally important hub in advanced manufacturing and engineering with business and research links across the world.
She said: “The Local Enterprise Partnership is absolutely focused on stimulating business investment, connecting people to key housing and job locations and making it easier to access further education and training facilities across Coventry and Warwickshire.
“Key to us building on our growing success in these areas is a good transport system across the area – we’re already brilliantly connected and in absolutely the right place in the country. But the further investment from the Growth Deal will mean we can focus on priority infrastructure projects to improve our transport links even further.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire Country Council and CWLEP board director, said the Growth Deal was investing in attracting entrepreneurs to the area.
“Providing the right kind of facilities for business start-ups is vital in helping them get off the ground and the new state-of-the-art business accommodation in Stratford will certainly offer the ideal platform for entrepreneurs,” she said.
“This area has a fantastic track record in encouraging the innovative skills of entrepreneurs and this investment from the Growth Fund will give business start-ups the facilities and advice they need to grow during the early stages of their development which is key in their success or failure.
“One of the key aspects to attracting all sizes of business to the area is transport infrastructure and one of the major aspects of the Growth Deal is the investment in improving local roads.
“We are really pleased that in 2016/2017 there is going to be improvements to the capacity and signalling to the Stanks junction in Warwick as well as immediately adjacent to the junctions on the A425 and A4177 along with completing the dualling of the A5 Longshoot and Dodwells junctions.
“These improvements will have a significant impact since it will reduce congestion and improve journey times which will help to boost economic activity in Warwickshire which is one of the goals of the CWLEP.”