£21m boost to the Heart of the South West area’s economy

A dozen projects across Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay with funding of around £21m from the Heart of the SW LEP’s Getting Building Fund allocation have now been contracted and are ready to go live.

The HotSW LEP secured a total funding allocation of £35.4m last summer – the highest allocation in the South West – from the Government’s Getting Building campaign, designed to restart the economy. Shovel-ready projects were chosen that had a solid business case in place, would create new jobs and contribute to a green recovery.

The other 12 projects that secured the remaining £14m Getting Building funding from the LEP’s allocation are expected to be contracted and go live in the Spring.

Projects that are now live include:

  • Torquay Gateway: a c.£6m project supported with £2m from the LEP’s Getting Building Fund (GBF). The project will unlock a key strategic employment site at the gateway to Torquay by funding necessary infrastructure to bring forward employment space, modern business premises, jobs and economic growth. It will create 23 jobs immediately and generate £7.2m for the local economy, with a further 135 jobs in the medium term. Completion date March 2022
  • Firepool and Taunton Station Access: a c.£1.27m project with £400k from the GBF. A new signalised junction on Trenchard Way, Taunton, will serve both the Firepool Development and new multi storey car park that is part of Taunton rail station redevelopment. It includes pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities as well as the widening of an existing signal-controlled crossing. The Firepool development has a key role to play in the town’s growth and comprises 7.1ha of land, including retail, office space, hotel and leisure uses, and will deliver 210 new jobs and 698 new housing units. Completion date March 2023.
  • Exeter Science Park Grow-Out space: this c.£5.3m project is being supported with £5m from the GBF. The Grow-Out building will form part of a growing continuum of ESPL’s workspace provision, helping to attract and grow innovative science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) businesses. It will provide space for businesses in the Science Park Centre, the site’s incubator building, to expand and free up space in the incubator building. Completion date March 2023.
  • The Welding Centre of Excellence, Plymouth: a c.£460k project with £350k of GBF that will enable City College Plymouth to set up a Welding Centre of Excellence to enhance and extend welding facilities. It will address the skills gaps and shortages in the profession across the region, with high demand coming from developments such as Hinkley and marine and advanced engineering firms. Modernised facilities and innovative equipment will enable specialist trainers to provide welding training from entry level to higher level specialised and bespoke training. Completion date March 2022.

 

Karl Tucker, chair of the HotSW LEP, said: “This is great news for our area, and we can’t wait to see the work getting underway in the coming weeks. Each of these projects has a role to play in contributing to the economic recovery and longer-term growth in our area. The funding we have been able to award to these projects through our allocation of the Getting Building Fund will help to get projects underway or accelerate their progress, creating jobs and economic stimulus.

“We also recognise there are other important projects that still need funding and we will continue to work closely with Government to secure further funding in the future so that we can continue to provide support where it is most needed in our area’s recovery.”

Projects were selected from a call through Local Authority partners to submit quality assured, ‘shovel-ready’ schemes that would support recovery across the Heart of the South West area. The selection considered areas hardest hit by Covid-19 and projects that could complete within the timescales for the funding. The final list was agreed with the Government.