Business leaders target £500m of government money for transport, colleges, roads, rail and broadband

Mark Pendlington. Mark Pendlington.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
8:36 AM

Suffolk and Norfolk’s local enterprise partnership has entered the fray in a competition to win up to £500million of the Government’s £2billion local growth fund.

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The main projects

-Bury St Edmunds Eastern Relief Road – This could open up access to the West Suffolk Business Park and new housing development. It is a £15m scheme, asking for £6m from the LGF.

-Beccles Southern Relief Road – this could support the development of the Enterprise Zone at Ellough and reduce congestion in Beccles. It is a £7m scheme, asking for £2m.

-King’s Lynn Sport Link Road – this could provides access to a 590-home development. It is a £3m scheme, asking for £1.2m.

-King’s Lynn Transport Interchange – this would improve the town centre bus station and links to the railway station. It is a £1.8m scheme, asking for £600,000.

There are plans for engineering and hotel and catering facilities at Lowestoft College, a higher skills 
centre at College of West Anglia, construction and agri-tech facilities at Easton and Otley College, ICT and life sciences facilities at City College Norwich and engineering and technology centre at West Suffolk College. These will be multi-million pound bids.

-Funding to roll out superfast broadband to 95pc of homes across Norfolk and Suffolk. Lep is asking for £10m.

-A new innovation centre on the Haverhill Research Park in West Suffolk – a joint bid with 
GCGP. This is a £6m project and they are asking for £2m.

-Expansion of the Growing Business Fund. Lep is asking for an extra £4m.

There will also be discussions within the bid for funding sought for flood defence projects on key parts of the coastline, including North Norfolk, Waveney and Great Yarmouth.

-Major improvements to transport corridors in Ipswich and Norwich to improve access to the town and city centres – no exact figures revealed.

There is also a range of other schemes covering key employment locations across the two counties, as well as support for improvements to major roads such as the A14 and A47 as well as rail infrastructure.

New Anglia has submitted a bid for more than £200m for transport improvements and more than £100m to expand colleges to give students the much-needed skills required by the region’s businesses.

The Strategic Economic Plan, which the LEP has worked on with businesses, local authorities, the voluntary sector, colleges, universities and MPs, sets out its ambition to help 10,000 new businesses to be established, create 95,000 more jobs, and see 117,000 homes built by 2026.

The LEP said the plan would improve infrastructure, including broadband, roads and rail, and provide support for companies to improve skills for business.

Projects it is hoping to get off the ground through the fund include the Bury St Edmunds Eastern Relief Road – it is asking for £6m towards the £15m project – and the Beccles Southern Relief Road – asking for £2m of the £7m scheme. It is also bidding for £10m to help roll out superfast broadband.

There are also bids to secure funding towards engineering and hotel and catering facilities at Lowestoft College and a technology centre at West Suffolk College.

Over the coming months the New Anglia LEP will be holding talks with the Government about its plans. The Local Growth Fund has been established by taking cash from Whitehall departments – a minimum of £2bn a year from 2015 to 2021 – for which LEPs across the country can compete.

Mark Pendlington, who takes over from Andy Wood as chairman of New Anglia this week, said: “It’s a plan that is all about realising our potential and seizing the many opportunities for growth, new jobs, improving skills, better transport, more housing and creating new businesses.

“This is a plan for every part of the New Anglia economy, for businesses large and small, and we set out a clear roadmap on how it will delivered. The plan has the full and enthusiastic support of MPs, local authorities, business leaders, academics and voluntary groups, all of whom have contributed their ideas. So we are able to present to government a powerful and compelling plan, and say that we stand ready to work with government to deliver on our promises. What better way to help grow our local economy and to drive UKplc towards stronger and more sustainable growth?”

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