County Council agree multi-milion investment to support economic growth in Harlow

Politics / Thu 27th Mar 2014 at 04:34pm

PLANS to invest £115m to support infrastructure projects for economic growth across Essex and attract a further £350m in central government funding were approved by Essex County Council’s Cabinet this week.

This commitment will be set out in the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) that the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) will submit to Government at the end of this month. This SEP will set out the bid for funding from the Government’s Single Local Growth Fund – a national pot bringing together funding for transport, housing and skills infrastructure.

Essex County Council’s proposed £115m commitment (80% of which would be for transport infrastructure) would form part of a total infrastructure investment package for Essex of £755m.

The total package could also include a contribution from district, borough and city councils and attract investment from private developers and other local sources. Central government funding worth £347m will be sought from the Single Local Growth Fund to make up the total infrastructure package for Essex.

The County Council has also produced a list of Essex projects that could be delivered with support from the Single Local Growth Fund. This includes –

Colchester Town Centre growth
Improvements to major strategic roads including A12 corridor, A120, A133, A127, M11, A414
Capacity improvements to the Greater Anglia and West Anglia mainlines
Basildon Town Centre regeneration

The full list is available to view here

County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth & Infrastructure said: “I am delighted that Cabinet has agreed to commit investment to achieve growth. Growing our economy is vitally important to secure the infrastructure and skills our businesses need as well as the jobs and careers Essex people strive for. We are in competition with the rest of the country for a limited pot of funding so our plans need to be smart, achievable and must demonstrate that investment brings economic returns and stronger communities.

“Essex businesses have played a crucial role in developing this work and their ongoing support as well as that of our MPs in Parliament is not only welcome but necessary. The future of our county depends on our ability, working closely with partners across the public and private sectors, to deliver sustainable economic growth for our local communities and businesses.”

Simon Brice, Chairman of the Greater Essex Business Board said: “We are delighted that Essex County Council is contributing £115m into the SELEP’s Strategic Economic Plan. This is a significant commitment and shows that Essex County Council is committed to promoting and growing business within Essex over the next six years.”

It was also agreed today that Cllr Bentley will lead negotiations with the Government on the Essex element of the Growth Deal, as part of the SELEP negotiating team. Following submission of the SEP at the end of this month, the County Council will develop a draft Economic Plan for Essex, which will be submitted to Cabinet for endorsement. A further draft will be developed following the outcome of negotiations for the Growth Deal, prior to wider public engagement and final Cabinet approval.

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