Offer of £8M is made to boost Exeter and East Devon growth point
THE Exeter and East Devon Growth Point has secured £8 million of funding from the Government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF), enabling the developments to advance further by creating a pot of cash for infrastructure
The RGF is a £2.4 billion Government fund designed to support projects and programs with significant potential for economic growth. From this fund the Growth Point has been given a conditional offer of £8 million. Subject to completing a due diligence process it is likely that the full award will be made in the new year.
The Exeter and East Devon Growth Point intends to use these funds to create a Local Infrastructure Fund (LIF). The LIF could be used to fund projects such as roads and green energy schemes, or used to remove obstacles and kick start development.
The Growth Point has identified a basket of potential projects that could benefit from this approach creating both new homes and jobs. These projects include low carbon energy networks and essential transport links as well as assisting with the delivery of specific projects such as the regeneration of the Exeter Bus & Coach Station and supporting the new Exeter Science Park. Ultimately it is expected that this will help to create more than 1000 jobs and advance more than 1000 new homes.
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Cllr William Mumford, chairman of the Growth Board said: "This is fantastic news and again confirms the government's commitment to us and the future of Exeter and East Devon. We have come a long way in the last few years but there are still lots of vital infrastructure that we need to enable this area to flourish; now I am delighted to say it can happen. We are getting ever closer to delivering on our vision, affordable homes, good job opportunities and sustainable living."
Since 2008 the developments of the Growth Point including Exeter Science Park, Cranbrook, Skypark and the Intermodal Freight Terminal, have benefited from the funding of infrastructure; schemes such as the improvement works at Junction 29, Redhayes Bridge, the Clyst Honiton Bypass and the E.On Energy Centre.
Over this time the Growth Point has demonstrated that the funding of infrastructure can unlock development and enable it to move forward where it would otherwise have stalled due to a lack of finance.
Eventually the LIF will grow to become a self funded pot of cash, receiving ring fenced receipts from section 106 contributions, the community infrastructure levy, the new homes bonus and retained business rates.
Cllr Pete Edwards, leader of Exeter City Council said ""This is very good news, there is an energy and excitement around Exeter at the moment and this funding will help keep the momentum going. The council's number one priority is the redevelopment of the bus and coach station site. This funding could make a significant contribution to tackling the early enabling works on this site."
Tim Jones, Chair of Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, which supported the bid said: "We are immensely pleased to hear of Exeter and East Devon's success. The area is pivotal to economic growth across the whole of the partnership area, with its capacity for long term sustainable jobs, housing and infrastructure. This is a great step forward for the whole of the Heart of the South West and it will be a catalyst for other initiatives to come."