SELEP allocates a further £38 million to key South East projects
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has awarded more than £38 million for a range of projects that will improve essential infrastructure & support economic growth across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
At a meeting of its Accountability Board at the end of February, SELEP made awards to a number of schemes across the region from the Local Growth and Growing Places Funds.
Projects allocated funding at February’s board meeting include:
- £10 million to improve transport and cycling links in Chelmsford City Centre. A sustainable transport package with highways improvements to key junctions and route corridors, together with a major focus on improvements to passenger transport and cycling provision. Works will include a new bus gate; bus lane extensions and improvements, junction improvements, new cycle routes and additional cycle parking in the city centre and railway station. The improvements will help support the creation of more than 4,000 new homes and 250 jobs in north Chelmsford.
- £6 million to help develop phase 2 of the Southend Forum project. This will see the development of 3,535m2 of teaching and learning space, a commercial restaurant, community gallery and exhibition space and commercial creative and digital enterprise space in Southend town centre.
- £5 million to upgrade a key strategic route between the M11 and Harlow town centre. Just over a mile (1.8km) of Gilden Way will be widened and upgraded, providing a key link to the proposed junction 7a of the M11 and giving access to a new housing development at Harlowbury. The existing two-lane road will be widened to three, allowing two lanes to be used by traffic heading into Harlow from the M11 and one lane for vehicles heading from the town to the motorway.
- £1 million to ease congestion at key spots in Kent. These include adding a left turn lane on the southern approach to Wateringbury crossroads between West Malling and Maidstone; Increasing capacity and improving safety at the junction of Elwick Road and Victoria Road in Ashford; Improving traffic management and journey times on arterial routes in Tunbridge Wells by linking junction technology to the Highways Management Centre; Introducing a management system to Thanet and Tunbridge Wells that automatically adjusts the timings of traffic signals at key junctions based on queue lengths; An assessment of Dover TAP, concentrating on linking Highways England and KCC systems to improve traffic management, along with improved signs and road markings.
- £1 million to Kent’s No Use Empty programme aimed at improving town centres by bringing long-term empty commercial properties back into use for residential, alternative commercial or mixed-use purposes. It will focus on town centres – particularly in coastal areas of Kent – where secondary retail and other commercial areas have been significantly impacted by changing consumer demand and have often been neglected as a result of larger regeneration schemes.
Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “These latest awards continue the significant investment of funds released from the Growth Deal by SELEP into important projects across the region.
The money is going to schemes which are making tangible contributions to the economic regeneration of local communities through the provision of new homes, jobs, and the skills and infrastructure essential to support growth across the LEP region.”
The Accountability Board - democratic decision making
All formal democratic decision making is through the Accountability Board which approves all major funding decisions and monitors and manages SELEP’s capital programme for greatest impact, informed by local area management information.
The joint committee structure of the Accountability Board roots decision-making firmly in the democratic process and enables it to be subject to democratic scrutiny.
The panel of nine is made of representatives of business, local authorities and Further and Higher education representatives.
Growth Deals are a £12 billion national long-term programme to revitalise local economies.
The Local Growth Fund is the Government’s funding pot of at least £2bn a year from 2015/16 to 2020/21. Most of the funding is allocated through a competitive process, and there are have been three rounds of Local Growth Funds so far. Projects funded will be delivered by 2021.
In total the SELEP Growth Deal with Government has brought almost £590.8m of investment to around 100 projects in East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
Over the lifetime of the deal (2015-2021) SELEP aims to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes. It is set to attract a further £960 million investment into the South East over the next five years.