2016 – A Year of Growth Deal Mobilisation

Growth Deals provide funds to LEPs for projects that benefit the local area and economy. The first wave was announced in 2014.

So far HotSW LEP has been allocated £195.50m from government in the first two rounds of the Growth Deal, which is expected to deliver 22,000 jobs, 11,000 homes and £260m public and private sector investment, and an announcement on the third round is expected in the New Year.

Projects in the HotSW Growth Deal bids are selected in a transparent process guided by the Strategic Economic Plan, according to those which combined will most benefit the LEP-wide area.

This year’s Growth Deal bid proposed a portfolio of projects selected across three delivery themes: Strategic connectivity & sustainable transport, unlocking & enabling growth potential and productivity growth through science and innovation.

Many of the projects from the first round of the Growth Deal started on site this year, with some of them already completed. Here’s a round-up of some of the progress made in 2016 on Growth Deal mobilisation:

Completed projects:

At Exeter Science Park, site infrastructure on phase 2 started in May 2015 and was completed March this year; paving the way for the Global Environmental Futures Campus and facilitating the Met Office’s new £100m supercomputer. The success of the Innovation Centre which this scheme enabled is evident by its popularity as a place to invest by companies relocating from outside of the area. It’s currently 75% occupied, by targeted knowledge/innovation/science focussed companies that support growth in this sector.

The Somerset Energy Innovation Centre extension started in September 2015 and was completed in June this year. It provides flexible space for growth businesses in the Hinkley Point C supply chain.

Huntworth Roundabout is also complete. A key connection in Bridgwater’s highway network to the M5, the scheme unlocks 973 dwellings and 1,700 jobs; and its wider contribution to the surrounding area (due to the development of nearby business parks and Hinkley Point C) is in the region of 4,418 dwellings, 5,515 jobs and 16,000sqm retail space.

Here is a selection of Growth Deal projects that are currently underway:

Torquay Gateway started on site in January and due for completion in June 2018; generating 720 new jobs and 743 new homes by opening up key employment and housing sites. It capitalises on the new South Devon Highway by reducing journey times and increasing reliability, thereby increasing business confidence in this area of Torbay.

February was a busy month for Growth Deal projects starting on site, including:

Torquay Town Centre Access improvements: to provide more direct vehicle access into Torquay Town Centre and improve public transport. This scheme is due for completion in March next year.

The widening of Bridge Road in Exeter is due for completion in March 2018. It will develop two continuous outbound lanes from Countess Wear to the Matford roundabout, on one of the busiest routes into the city.

Work on the £13million state-of-the-art facility – the Plymouth College STEM Centre – is due to be completed in autumn 2017. The five-story building is starting to rise upwards with formwork and reinforcement for the third floor in place, and a foundation stone laying event was held in October marking a significant milestone in construction. Addressing the skills gap and enabling sustainable employment, it is Plymouth’s new Regional Centre of Excellence for science, technology, engineering and maths.

Roundswell Phase 2 in Barnstaple will support growth by improving the efficiency of the strategic A39/A361 corridor. It reduces congestion by providing a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the A39 at Roundswell linking employment and residential areas.

Derriford Hospital Interchange is due for completion next spring. It’s part of the ‘Derriford jigsaw’, which along with the Derriford Transport Scheme, is essential to enable the increase of 9,000 jobs and 2,950 new homes planned for the north of Plymouth in the next 15 years.

Moving onto March, this month saw the start on site of the Derriford Transport Scheme, with practical completion expected next autumn. This is also part of the strategic package of investments in infrastructure to unlock sustainable growth in Plymouth. It will reduce congestion and improve walking and cycling facilities, supporting 2250 jobs, 750 houses and 35,500sqm commercial floor space by 2021.

Deep Lane at Sherford also started on site in March with practical completion expected in March 2019 subject to planning conditions. It will serve the new community at Sherford, supporting 220 jobs and 700 houses by 2021.

The A361 Portmore to Landkey Stage 1 started in the spring to enable the proposed housing and employment development in the North Devon and Torridge area, generating 500 jobs and 250 houses by 2021. Completion is expected in March 2018 subject to planning conditions.

The Somerset Levels River Widening project started on site in July and is due for completion in March 2018. It’s part of the Somerset Levels and Moors 20 Year Flood Action Plan and consists of a package of measures to reduce the duration, depth and frequency of flooding to safeguard homes, infrastructure and businesses.

Plymouth Science Park’s landmark £7million building, 1 Research Way, held a topping out ceremony in August and already has London-based firms moving in. Work started on the three-storey block, the largest on the PSP site, in December 2015. The new building forms the entrance to Plymouth Science Park – a 25-acre campus which is home to innovative technology, digital, creative, marine and science-based businesses with 180,000sq ft. of space – located on 25 acres of wooded land behind the West Country’s biggest hospital, Derriford.

The £2.5 million upgrade to the A379 junction at Newcourt started on site in October and will create a signalised junction which will improve access to proposed employment and housing development in the area of the city near Sandy Park.

As the year came to a close, work on all these projects gathered momentum and a major milestone for Bridgwater College Hinkley Skills Capital was marked. Bridgwater College is home to the National College for Nuclear, and work started on site this month with a ground-breaking ceremony. The new college will welcome students from late 2017, focusing on degree apprenticeship programmes designed to deliver highly skilled technicians required for the growing nuclear sector in the HotSW area and globally.

Looking forward to 2017, work is due to start at the end of January on a major highways widening scheme on Kings Ash Road in Paignton as part of the Western Corridor scheme. It will boost the economic development of Torbay by improving access to existing and planned sites for employment and housing, which aim to create over 1700 new jobs and over 1600 additional dwellings by 2021.

On the Growth Deal 2 projects, business cases and funding agreements are progressing well so that these projects can start in the coming year according to the programme.

The award of the Growth Deal 3 bid is expected to be made in January, enabling the LEP to deliver more transformational projects across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay to improve productivity and prosperity for residents and businesses.