More than £45 million has been invested through the Local Growth Fund on major schemes which have been completed or started in 2018 to improve transport, skills and economic growth across the West of England.
Funding has been provided by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, which is administered by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
This year’s key investments include:
- £11.8 million into the construction of the FoodWorksSW food and drink innovation centre – the only one of its kind in the South West – near the motorway junction at Weston-super-Mare
- £700,000 on additional improvement work on the A39 at Marksbury aimed at easing congestion and improving journey times for thousands of motorists – complementing work carried out last year, as part of plans to keep people moving.
- £8.6 million into learning provision at Weston College to increase the number of people developing skills in the areas of construction and health.
10 schemes, with investment totalling £22 million, have completed so far this year. These include:
- £5.765 million for the University of Bath and South Gloucestershire Council to jointly purchase the Bristol & Bath Science Park as a centre of excellence for research and development across the region
- £2.1 million on major improvements to the Aztec West roundabout – including more lanes on the approaches, widening the foot and cycle way, new pedestrian and cyclist crossings, and additional advance direction signs
- £1.8 million for Bath’s new Odd Down coach park – as part of the regeneration plans for Bath Quays; helping to prepare for the growth of businesses in the city
- £1.3 million to establish a Health Technology Hub at UWE to support a research and innovation centre.
The Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “The Government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“These major investments in transport, science, research and business support, totalling over £45 million, will make a huge difference for people living in the West of England. They’re a great example of how the Local Growth Fund is helping us build an economy fit for the future with local communities across the country receiving the investment and resources they need to flourish.”
In addition, three further schemes are expected to be completed in spring 2019 – supported by investment through the Local Growth Fund totalling £11 million.
Weston College will open two new state-of-the-art training centres providing work-focussed education. The multi-million-pound Health and Active Living Skills Centre will enable young people and adults to gain the skills they need to enter healthcare professions, as well as allowing local and regional employers to develop the skills of existing staff. Likewise, the college’s new Construction Training Centre is designed with employers’ needs in mind and in response to the growing demand for a trained and skilled construction workforce in the region.
Work is also due for completion on the upgrade and re-design of Weston-super-Mare’s Town Square area to create a quality public space as an integral part of the wider vision for the town centre’s regeneration.
Professor Steve West, Chair of the West of England LEP, said: “We’re very pleased to support these ambitious projects that deliver important investment in the things that businesses in the West of England need – whether that be additional skills training, improved research and development facilities or better transport routes to support the supply chain. It’s great to see the LGF funding is having such a positive impact.”
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “It’s been a great year for improvements happening right across our region. I’m really pleased to see so many important projects being completed to support the West of England’s growth – from helping people get around to giving businesses a boost. The West of England Combined Authority and the LEP have already allocated millions of pounds through the Local Growth Fund and we look forward to offering even more support in the coming year.”