As the Local Growth Fund draws to a close Cheshire and Warrington LEP has outlined the huge impact the £201m funding has had on jobs and infrastructure. Tony McDonough reports
More than £200m has been invested into Cheshire and Warrington by via the Local Growth Fund (LGF) since 2015 which will see the creation of 16,000 new jobs.
Around 20,000 people will also gain new qualifications thanks to the LGF funding into 61 projects across the country. The money was allocated by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Large scale projects are led by £53m towards the £92m Congleton link road as part of a wider plan to create 3,000 new jobs, 2,475 new homes and more than 1.2m sq ft of commercial floorspace in the area.
Major funding for public transport upgrades included £13.5m invested in the new Chester Bus Exchange as the first part of the £70m Northgate scheme, while some £6.5m went towards the new Warrington West Station.
The region’s transport infrastructure was also improved. Work at Junction 8 of the M62 to help ease congestion around the Omega Business Park, which employs over 10,000 people, were backed with £4m towards the £8.8m scheme.
The Government’s 2015 Growth Deal Funding package made the resources available after the LEP identified seven key areas to develop in order to strengthen the region’s position as England’s second-highest performing economy outside London. These priority areas are: transport, low carbon energy, life science, business support, skills, and regeneration.
The LGF has also been used to target the development of low carbon energy and a wide range of other schemes which help clean-up how we live and work, setting a path towards a reduction of 540,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions across the region.
Clare Hayward, chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “The £201 million of Local Growth Funding investments are about a better future – one that builds on our existing strengths, but with an even greater focus on skills, sustainability and opportunity.
“We are making strategic investments that will achieve growth while simultaneously improving the region’s environmental credentials, helping us both today and in the future.
“The investments are already making a real difference to local people and businesses, improving quality of life, improving infrastructure and creating employment and training opportunities.
“The scale of the impact is illustrated by the fact that the Local Growth Fund has generated £8 of additional investment for every £1 spent, with the total value of extra public and private investment reaching £1bn.
“This result would not have been achieved without our intervention and absolute commitment to ensuring that Cheshire and Warrington continues to out-perform most of the UK.”