The role of Plymouth as a hub to drive the economy across the Heart of the South West is more assured with the announcement that the city has been shortlisted for City Deal status.
The Heart of the South West LEP has welcomed the news from the Government, which will enable Plymouth and its surrounding area to increase productivity through a variety of initiatives focused on marine technology and assets.
An invitation to apply for a City Deal was issued in mid summer to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the City Council. Working in conjunction with partners including Devon County, Cornwall, Torbay Councils and district councils, the University of Plymouth and private sector firms including Princess and Babcock, a bid was created for submission to central government.
Tim Jones, Chair of Heart of the South West LEP said: “We are delighted that Plymouth is one of the preferred areas in this highly competitive second wave of bids. Despite enormous growth potential, Plymouth has been performing well below its true capacity for many years, and many reasons. The city deal has meant we’ve all had to take a long hard look at the reasons for Plymouth’s decline, whilst assessing the opportunities for the area to exploit its strengths and take control of its own destiny.
“This deal is not just about Plymouth – it’s about a much wider area that can radiate the benefits across the entire peninsula. Plymouth has unique and fantastic marine assets – from the knowledge and research at the University, to clusters of internationally renowned company along with outstanding sites alongside the waterfront. We also have some very committed and able partners in industry and academia who will be a vital part of achieving a long-term legacy.
“By capitalising on these resources we can build a much stronger proposition to both industry and government; one that will be able to deliver real growth and cultivate real ambition to succeed. It’s a great step forward for all of us in the South West.”
Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “We’re very pleased the Government has supported our joint bid, which is all the stronger for being backed by key partners across the region.
“Our expression of interest involved an unprecedented amount of work with partners across the peninsula for mutual benefit. We now intend to build these relationships to ensure that together we build on our strengths and become an economic force to be reckoned with.
“I would like to thank our colleagues from Devon and Cornwall councils, business and the local economic partnerships for their level of support so far and I looked forward to working with them on negotiating our City Deal with the Government.”
Plymouth now has nine months to further develop its plans and agree the final terms for a City Deal.
The City Deal plans to:
- Support the development and commercialisation of fledgling marine science businesses by bringing together the knowledge, research and development facilities the university and private sector. This would nurture businesses and support them in commercialising research and accessing EU business growth programmes.
- Use the potential to free up surplus MoD land such as South Yard in Devonport to create a marine technology production campus. This would enable marine related firms to link ideas, research, development and testing and enable large scale industrial production.
- Develop an international investment and export pilot with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to prepare and connect businesses with export markets.