The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has approved £66.8 million in funding for 25 projects on the Getting Building Fund list, including a railway station for Thanet, a skills training centre with commercial workspace for SMEs in Lewes, education facilities for the transport and logistics sector in Thurrock, and a modular housing factory in Basildon.
These projects have been chosen for being shovel-ready and able to help get the local economy back on its feet to combat the ongoing effects of COVID-19. As the country deals with its second lockdown and the future of the UK business environment remains uncertain, these projects will help the areas and industries that are particularly affected by the lockdown caused by COVID-19.
They will bring jobs, skills training, workspace for businesses and greater connectivity for residents across the South East. These 25 projects will create and safeguard 4,514 jobs, unlock and deliver 5,627 new homes, support 5,147 learners and unlock 138,388sq m of commercial space.
Earlier this year, the Government announced the £900 million Getting Building Fund, created to invest in local projects to drive economic growth. SELEP successfully secured the largest value for any LEP area in the UK from the fund, with its £85 million pot across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. The money is targeted at areas most affected by the pandemic as well as the sectors that will provide the most support to the economy in the near future by creating jobs, restoring and regenerating town centres and high streets, and attracting local investment.
A selection of projects which have been awarded funding by the South East LEP include:
- UTC Maritime & Sustainable Technology Hub: the creation of an education-led skills training centre in Lewes with commercial workspace for SMEs specialising in the marine sector;
- Thanet Parkway Railway Station: the delivery of a new railway station in East Kent to improve connectivity to these coastal communities;
- South Essex No Use Empty: the repurposing of empty or disused commercial properties in South Essex for residential alternative commercial uses, with a focus on SMEs adversely affect by COVID-19 or changing consumer demand;
- Transport and Logistics Institute: the provision of educational facilities which will enable improved transport and logistics learning to young people seeking employment in this growing sector in Thurrock and the wider Thames Estuary area; and
- Swan modular housing factory: a new facility for a modular housing factory in Basildon, to support the fast pace of housing construction to meet pressing demand.
Eight projects from the GBF list have already been approved by the Board and awarded £16.1m. The full list of Getting Building Fund projects can be found here.
The projects receiving GBF from SELEP will enhance coastal areas and market towns; regenerate old and disused buildings; bring a wealth of construction jobs to the area; and provide more than 50,000sq m of new commercial and grow-on space for businesses and educational facilities.
Areas across the South East will also benefit from much-needed broadband rollout in rural and remote areas to stimulate economic activity. Burgeoning sectors such as green tech and clean growth, cultural and creative, and manufacturing will receive the funding needed to thrive.
These projects will all contribute to the Government’s Build Back Better initiative to help the recovery of the economy. They are set to deliver within 18 months.
South East LEP Chair Christian Brodie said:
“We have worked hard to get these projects up and running as quickly as possible, and this incredibly short turnaround to get this funding out the door means that these projects can kick off development to provide support across the SELEP patch. They will bring new employment opportunities, training facilities for those looking to reskill and enter new industries, and regeneration to town centres as part of the efforts to bring residents back to high streets.
“These projects will also prompt further local investment and give much-needed support to areas and industries that are at risk of being left behind as the country focuses on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our creative sector desperately needs support, and residents in our most deprived areas cannot be left without equal opportunities for work.
“SELEP and its partners have been working hard to get this funding into the local economy, where it’s urgently needed. We are working in line with central government’s Build Back Better initiative and are confident that these projects will deliver jobs, housing and the best support for businesses. Investment in the South East extends to the rest of the country. When we thrive, the UK thrives.”
About the Getting Building Fund
On 4 August 2020, the government confirmed the list of over 300 successful projects which will receive a share of £900 million from the Getting Building Fund.
The full list of projects is available on GOV.UK.
The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country. Projects funded include:
- regeneration of town and city centres
- green infrastructure and clean energy
- transport and digital connectivity improvements
- unlocking of housing and business sites
- support for SMEs and learners
The successful projects (over 300) are expected to deliver up to 85,000 jobs, over 1,500,000sq m of commercial floor space, unlocking 45,000 homes, almost 1,000,000 sqm of public realm or green space improved or created, over 50,000 new learners assisted, and 65 million kgs of CO2 emissions saved.
All projects have been selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities in each area and endorsed by the Housing Secretary.
About the South East LEP Getting Building Fund
Further details of the full list of the South East LEP’s Getting Building Fund projects, descriptions, values and outputs can be found at southeastlep.com/our-delivery/getting-building-fund.
In the South East LEP, the 34 funded projects are expected to stimulate and better integrate economies in some of the most economically depressed and COVID-affected parts of the South East, including persistently vulnerable areas such as Thanet, Hastings and Tendring. People in coastal areas and provincial towns will see their town centres enhanced, with old or disused buildings brought back to life.
New business and educational spaces will provide grow-on commercial space and develop the skills infrastructure so that existing and new, growing sectors – innovative green technologies, manufacturing, transport and logistics, housing, cultural and creative – can thrive. Much-needed investment in broadband rollout will stimulate economic activity in rural and more remote areas.
Note: Funding has been approved subject to government agreeing a change to the project outcomes