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Minister Signs £500 Million South East Growth Deal

A deal between the government and South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) which will see nearly £500 million of Government investment into the South East has been officially signed.

The South East Growth Deal, covering Kent, East Sussex, Essex, Medway, Southend and Thurrock, was signed by Transport Minister Baroness Kramer and Peter Jones, Chairman of SE LEP during a visit to the creative industries hub at High House Production Park in Thurrock.

Over the lifetime of its Deal (2015-2021) the SE LEP estimates that up to 45,000 new jobs could be created, 23,000 new homes built and that it has the potential to generate £700m of public and private investment.

Baroness Kramer said: “This £500 million investment in the South East will make a phenomenal difference to the whole of the region.

“The government is giving regions the power to make big investments locally to build a stronger economy and a fairer society for all.”

Peter Jones, Chairman of SE LEP, said: “The Growth Deal between ourselves and Government is tremendously good news for our businesses and residents. It enables us, and our local partners, to drive forward our shared growth agenda for this part of South East by improving the region’s connectivity, boosting skills and delivering new sustainable communities.

“We have secured investment in our infrastructure, in our further education colleges and wider support for business, to help tackle many longstanding issues facing our local economies.

“We’re now able to channel significant national investment into the projects which are the highest priorities for business success and jobs in the South East.”

The South East Growth Deal will bring together local, national and private funding as well as new freedoms and flexibilities. Projects funded by the Growth Deal include:

  • Improved highway connections to permit expansion of cargo-handling facility and regeneration of waterfront at Dover, leading to 100 new homes and the creation of 500 jobs
  • Investment in signalling at Ashford International railway station to help secure international rail services at Ashford and up to 2000 jobs
  • New lorry parking capacity in the M20 corridor, alleviating congestion, tackling Operation Stack, and facilitating new housing and up to 300 jobs;
  • Growth in the advanced manufacturing sector through the provision of new employment (up to 300 jobs) and innovation space at Rochester Airport;
  • Mixed-use redevelopment of Folkestone seafront to provide up to 500 jobs, 300 homes, improved leisure facilities and public realm;
  • Better transport connectivity in Chelmsford city centre, improving flow and access, reducing congestion, encouraging cycling and walking and enabling the provision of up to 1560 new homes and 1770 jobs; A scheme to protect from flood over 1000 commercial and residential properties and enable 800 new jobs and 250 new homes in Chelmsford city centre;
  • Regeneration of the town centre in Purfleet, linked to investment in new film, TV, media studio development and creating in the initial phase up to 530 homes and 200 jobs;
  • The Southend and Rochford Joint Area Action Plan, which provides for further expansion of London Southend Airport onto a 55-acre, greenfield to create a high end Business Park and 858 homes an d up to 2600 new jobs;
  • Provision of site infrastructure at Bexhill Enterprise Park to enable development of new business space, accommodating up to 426 jobs and 400 new homes Infrastructure work (new access road and junction) at Swallow Business Park near Hailsham, East Sussex, to develop new business space and up to 462 jobs;
  • Provision of new business space at Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne and up to 875 jobs; and Strategic intervention in housing and property markets in key locations across the South East to help restore markets and promote economic regeneration.

An expansion of £46.1 million of Government funding was announced on 29 January, on top of £442.2 million when the Growth Deal was originally announced in July.

Growth Deals are a £12 billion long-term programme to revitalise local economies. The deals are the latest and greatest example of the British economy being rebuilt from the bottom up, and sharing the benefits of the recovery around the country. Local businesses and council leaders have been invited to open discussions immediately on the next set of projects to be funded, building on the momentum that has been established.