Backed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Evergreen Urban Development Fund will provide development finance, in the form of loans or investment capital. Tony McDonough reports
Despite the UK’s departure from the European Union businesses across Cheshire and Warrington will be able to access a new £20m EU development fund.
Backed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Evergreen Urban Development Fund will be managed by CBRE and will provide development finance, in the form of loans or investment capital.
Business in three local authority areas – Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, and Warrington, will be eligible to apply. Investments will be focused on three specific areas:
- £8m low carbon to fund energy efficiency property developments or retro fit existing property developments, including installation of solar panels, additional insulation, LED lighting.
- £7m research and innovation for new labs and technical spaces.
- £5m business support – for SMEs to grow and develop.
It will complement the two established North West Evergreen Funds which CBRE already manages which, since their inception, have been the catalyst for the delivery of over £500m of regional development with wide-reaching socio-economic benefits.
The new fund is a bolt-on that will provide a flexible funding resource for delivering targeted investment to unlock potential within the Cheshire and Warrington region and will look to spend all the money by the end of 2023. The initiative is expected to help bring forward development sites that have stalled due to lack of finance.
It will also be used to provide funding to either retrofit buildings with new low carbon technologies or for low carbon technologies to be installed on new builds. It excludes residential property and retail.
Investment capital will be returned by final recipients and the resources will be reinvested into further projects thus creating an Evergreen fund.
Philip Cox, chief executive of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “This fund is a strong fit with our Strategic Economic Plan, and emerging Local Industrial Strategy and will help place Cheshire and Warrington at the forefront of Clean Growth with our pivotal role in decarbonising the northern economy.”
Will Church, senior director, investment advisory, CBRE, added: “There has been a long-term lack of debt for developers in the region. We have supplemented this to some extent with the original Evergreen Fund but this complementary fund, specifically for Cheshire and Warrington, will add to the support of economic growth we have been able to bring to the region in the last eight years.”