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Government awards funding for major infrastructure projects to boost growth

The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership will receive an initial £20.1 million in the 2015-16 financial year.

The government has also provisionally earmarked a further £20.6 million for projects starting in 2016/17. This is in addition to the £14.7 million for major transport schemes already announced.

Today’s announcement confirms that SEMLEP has been awarded the following funding:

  • £23.5 million to complete dualling along a stretch of the A421 which will result in uninterrupted dual carriageway from Milton Keynes to Bedford;
  • £20 million for Bedfordshire’s Woodside Link, a new road which will connect Houghton Regis and the industrial estates in Dunstable to the planned new M1 junction 11a;
  • £800,000 to promote sustainable transport choices within Luton and Dunstable through Central Bedfordshire’s Smarter Routes into Employment programme;
  • £2.5 million to build a new engineering and construction skills centre in Leighton Buzzard, which will train young people and adults to work as technicians;
  • £1.5 million to develop Bletchley Station and create a high quality station gateway that will connect several recent developments and provide a catalyst for further investment.
  • £6.5 million for Northampton College to fund a purpose built campus in Daventry town centre which will focus on vocational facilities and a curriculum that meets the needs of local employers.

The government has also provisionally earmarked £20.6 million for two projects: a link road within SEMLEP’s Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone and improved access to London Luton Airport.

News of the funding was announced by MP Dan Rogerson, Minister for flooding at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on a visit to SEMLEP’s headquarters at Cranfield this morning (Monday).

SEMLEP submitted its economic growth strategy, the ‘Strategic Economic Plan’, to government in March, pitching for a share of the £2billion Local Growth Fund. 

SEMLEP chair Dr Ann Limb (pictured) said: “We are delighted that our Strategic Economic Plan has been agreed by government and that we have secured essential funding for much-needed local and strategic projects which will drive growth across the area and deliver the necessary infrastructure to enable new homes to be built and new employment sites to be developed.

“This funding will provide support to new and existing businesses to enable them to grow, it will encourage inward investment and ensure that young people improve their skills levels and are better able to meet the needs of local businesses.”

Central Bedfordshire Council leader Cllr James Jamieson, a SEMLEP director, said: "The Local Growth Deal is excellent news for SEMLEP. It will enable much-needed infrastructure to be provided across the SEMLEP area that will unlock new jobs and homes.

“We welcome the commitment to work with LEPs to improve careers guidance to ensure that our young people acquire the skills that employers need.”

SEMLEP supported two overlapping LEPs with their applications for the Local Growth Fund, confirmed as successful in today’s announcement.

These were around £6 million for the Daventry Development Link, awarded to Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, and around £16 million for the Aylesbury Eastern Link Road and Stocklake Link Road, awarded to Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP.

The total investment from government will unlock an additional £45.3 million of investment from local partners and the private sector.