Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister visit Heart of the South West

£455m investment package for the Heart of the South West – LEP response to Government’s Growth Deal announcement

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) yesterday welcomed the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister on visits to the area on the day of the announcement of the new Growth Deal, designed to inject a further catalyst for investment to that announced last summer with the aim of creating new higher value jobs and prosperity.

HotSW LEP and its partners in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay are pleased to have secured a package of an extra £65.2m in this latest round of investment, which is estimated to deliver up to 7500 jobs, 2100 homes and £75m of public and private sector investment.

The new funding is in addition to the £130.3m committed by the Government in July 2014.  Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal – 2015-2021 – HotSW LEP estimates that up to 22,000 new jobs will be created and 11,000 new homes built.  The Deal also has the potential to generate up to £260m of public and private investment, which along with this new funding of £65.2m, brings the total package to £455m.

The Government’s latest package shows unprecedented confidence in the Heart of the South West’s Strategic Economic Plan and its potential to generate transformational growth, and is testament to HotSW LEP’s track record of delivery and the strong economic benefits of the selected projects.

HotSW LEP continues to work with its partners to provide a pipeline of new projects for national and European investment that make a robust case for generating more new jobs and greater prosperity for the area.

This latest round of investment will deliver the following projects:

• Further funding for a Low Carbon Innovation Centre in Bridgwater, which will support the development of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
• Providing universal superfast broadband coverage by tackling the next 5% of premises in hard to reach, largely rural, areas.
• An Electronics and Photonics Centre, based at the White Rock Business Centre in Paignton, providing incubation for start-up businesses and highly specialised equipment for more developed companies.
• South Yard, Plymouth: funding for site separation and remediation activities to boost the Plymouth City Deal’s flagship marine campus scheme.
• An Unlocking Growth Fund to invest in projects across the area that will boost employment at key sites. Possible schemes likely to be put forward include Claylands strategic employment site in Torbay; Holsworthy Agri-Business Park in Devon; a new enterprise centre in Wiveliscombe, Somerset; and a range of sites linked to Plymouth’s Marine Industries Production Campus.
• The creation of a collaboration centre at the heart of the Met Office Environmental Futures Campus at Exeter Science Park, linked to one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers.
• The delivery of Phase 2 of the Exeter Science Park Centre.
• A package of transport schemes including: major improvements at Junction 25 of the M5; the creation of a new link road in Plymouth between the A38 Parkway and the major growth area at Derriford/Seaton Barracks; and a new junction at Tiverton giving access to Tiverton Eastern Urban Extension from the A361.

The Prime Minister visited Exeter Science Park at which Growth Deal funding will enable the second phase to start construction, creating 30,000 sq ft of grow on business space plus a collaboration centre within the Environmental Futures Campus that will house the new Met Office supercomputer.

David Cameron also visited South Yard in Plymouth at Devonport Dockyard where the new funding will create employment space for the growing marine industry sector. He also looked at the plans for the new Forder Valley Link Road in Plymouth which will unlock 145 Ha of employment land and support 9,000 new jobs.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg visited Lupimedia in Yeovil which is an example of a rural business that benefits from increased broadband coverage to 95% enabled by this extension to the Growth Deal.

Steve Hindley, Chairman of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said:
“We were delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to Plymouth and Exeter and the Deputy Prime Minister to Somerset. These visits highlight the unprecedented opportunities for growth in our area, which is being recognised by public and private sector investors. The funds allocated to the Heart of the South West under this Growth Deal extension will accelerate economic growth across the area and will help the Local Enterprise Partnership build upon what has already been achieved.
“Investing in our infrastructure will help us to safeguard and create new jobs, build new homes and improve transport and connectivity to provide greater prosperity for all.
“Following a development process with partners we submitted a range of projects from across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay – our objective is to ensure that each project will benefit as many people and businesses across the area as possible, to make the biggest impact.
“We are really pleased to have secured this allocation of funding – competition between ourselves and the other 38 LEPs across the country was fierce, so this is a real achievement.”
Heart of the South West LEP Chief Executive, Chris Garcia, said:

“We are delighted to be successful in attracting this level of investment. We know the funding was heavily oversubscribed by so the confidence that the Government has shown in our area is no doubt due to the immense and unprecedented opportunity in the Heart of the South West economy and our strong partnership’s track record to bring maximum benefit to the local economy.”

“We look forward to working with our partners in the public private, education and voluntary sector make these exciting projects become a reality and we continue to put forward a pipeline of robust proposals to Government for future funding to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity in the Heart of the South West.”

The leader of Devon County Council and chairman of South West Councils, John Hart, said:
“I’m delighted the Government has recognised the strong partnership working of councils in the South West and the Local Enterprise Partnership.
“The more freedom, flexibility and funding local councils are given, the more we can do to create the right climate for economic growth and job creation.
“It’s been predicted that more jobs will be created in rural areas than in our metropolitan towns and cities over the next decade. Fast broadband in our rural areas is vital to enable businesses to compete so I am glad to see more money for that.
“I am also delighted to see further Government support for our highly successful Exeter Science Park and support for the Met Office expansion.”

“Councillor Tudor Evans, LEP Board Member and Leader of Plymouth City Council, said:
“The Local Enterprise Partnership has worked closely with its partners in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay to secure funding under the Growth Deal II negotiations – the funding we’ve been allocated is a great result for the area and will help build the economic growth we all desire.
“The £35.4m support for enhancements to our transport infrastructure, including at Junction 25 of the M5 and the Forder Valley Link Road are strategically vital to our ambitions and will make a major contribution to delivering growth.
“The extension of the Connecting Devon & Somerset Broadband programme in particular is welcome news: the £6m funding from the Growth Deal will support greater superfast broadband coverage to our area, including many businesses and puts us well on the way to achieving 100% coverage

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said: “Our county is seeing a huge amount of investment at the moment and this is further evidence that the future is bright for Somerset.
“The Junction 25 scheme is another massive boost following the recent A358/A303 announcement and will further improve connectivity as well as unlocking the growth potential of the site, creating business opportunities and providing up to 4,000 jobs.
“I’m also pleased to see continued investment into superfast broadband and enterprise centres supporting small businesses. Growing our economy is a top priority and I’m sure the Somerset business community will join me in celebrating this welcome news.”
Mayor Gordon Oliver, of Torbay Council, said: “Torbay has enormous potential for economic growth, and the investment in our Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre in Paignton from the Growth Deal will enable us to create more high-value jobs in this important sector. Earlier this week we secured funding from the Coastal Communities Fund for the centre so Torbay’s strength in this sector is widely recognised.
“As the South Devon Link road nears completion this year, Torbay and its thriving hi-tech sector are ripe for further growth, and we look to government and our partners in the Heart of the South West LEP to work with us to harness this opportunity to generate economic prosperity in our area.”

Ends

Notes to Editors:
For media enquiries contact Helena Davison 07525 806333 helena.davison@heartofswlep.co.uk

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been formed under the leadership of the private sector supported by the local authorities in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay and the area’s District Councils.

It is one of 39 partnerships created since the Government’s Local Growth White Paper published in October 2010.

More information about the work of the LEP is available from the website www.heartofswlep.co.uk

More information on Growth Deals is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-growth-deals