[T]he Board of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the county’s strategic economic body, has set out plans for five major investment programmes, including £5m for developments at Lillyhall North, £4.5m for improvements to Whitehaven Town Centre, and £1m for Carlisle Station Gateway and the Citadels.
These programmes will be funded by the county’s £12.7 million Growth Deal 3 allocation from central government which was announced on Jan 23rd.
This funding comes on top of the £47.7m already secured in previous Growth Deal rounds, which could see 4,000 jobs created, 3,000 homes built and attract £100 million extra investment over the next 5 years.
The investment programmes are as follows:
- Lillyhall North – £5,000,000 to develop the employment site, create and safeguard jobs and provide new workspace
- Whitehaven Town Centre – £4,500,000 investment for commercial office development
- Carlisle Station Gateway and the Citadels – £1,000,000 investment for commercial development
- Skills Capital 2 – £1,160,000 to deliver Cumbria Skills Implementation Plan projects and support Area-Based Review process
- Growing Our Potential 2 – £1,000,000 for grants to help small business
The Local Enterprise Partnership will seek alternative sources of funding for other major projects in the county such as road improvements and future flood resilience programmes.
Jackie Arnold, Vice Chair of the Board at Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, says: “We welcome the chance to apply the Government’s Growth Deal funding allocation to key projects at Lillyhall North, Whitehaven Town Centre, and Carlisle Station Gateway and the Citadels, as well as for our Skills Capital 2 and Growing Our Potential 2 programmes. They will bring substantial economic benefits to the county.
“Whilst our Growth Deal 3 funding is much lower than we hoped, the money was allocated largely based on population size, and whether the area had agreed a devolution deal with the Government. Cumbria has a smaller population than any of the other areas in the Northern Powerhouse and has not agreed a devolution deal.
“Cumbria received £25.50 per person, which is higher than areas such as Leeds, Sheffield or York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.
“The Local Enterprise Partnership and its partners worked hard to submit some excellent projects for the county. The Government’s decision is not a reflection on their quality.
“The projects which the board has selected to move forward will deliver the best possible economic outcomes that we can with the funding we have available.
“The projects are based on key principles: that they are strategic and will maximise the county’s potential for economic growth and they provide a balanced portfolio which can be realistically delivered through public and private partnership engagement.”
The Growth Deal 3 allocations announced by central government coincide with the launch of a new industrial strategy, with new ‘sector deals’ and investment in research and development to support future industries, as well as plans to drive growth by creating more high skilled, high paid jobs and opportunities.
Jackie Arnold adds: “Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership will continue to strongly make the case to Government for funding for the other major projects that are needed to maximise the county’s economic growth.
“There are still opportunities for the county to access investment for flood resilience, transport improvements, business infrastructure and housing. This includes three different EU funding programmes and of course the new industrial strategy.
“We welcome the announcement of the industrial strategy. It increases the focus on economic activity of national significance, and centres of excellence – which are important elements of the Cumbrian economy. We will look at the industrial strategy carefully to identify opportunities in it for Cumbria to maximise its economic growth.”
Welcoming the plans, Penrith MP, Rory Stewart, said: “This is a welcome plan that will deliver more high-skilled, high wage jobs and support Cumbria’s industries.
“Local businesses and workers have the chance to contribute to this vision and submit their views to help us create a high-skilled economy in the county where businesses can grow and more jobs are created.
“This strategy will ensure we are backing business locally and ensure more people share in the benefits of its success.”
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “This is an important step in building a modern, dynamic Industrial Strategy that will improve living standards and drive economic growth across Cumbria.
“We need to build on the UK’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; close the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; and ensure we are one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business.
“The North West has a world-leading reputation in a number of the UK’s best sectors and industries. Through our Industrial Strategy and investment in the Northern Powerhouse we plan to build on the Cumbria’s strengths, creating new jobs in other industries.”
Gillian Troughton, Labour’s candidate for Copeland, responding to the Governments industrial strategy, said: “I am disappointed to see that the Government has decided to put Cumbria at the back of the queue in today’s investment announcement. I care about Cumbria and I want it to get the investment it deserves. Whilst I welcome the additional money for Cumbria, the reality is that this falls well short of the investment we need.”
For further details about Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, go to www.cumbrialep.co.uk