Local economy gets £129 million boost
Swindon and Wiltshire has landed a £129 million windfall to create jobs, generate economic growth and accelerate housebuilding over the next two years.
The bonanza follows a successful bid by Swindon and Wiltshire LEP to the government’s £10 billion Local Growth Fund.
A total of £12.8million has been confirmed in the first year, and as part of the Government’s on-going commitment to the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP it has provided an indicative award of a further £116.3million of funding from 2016/17 onwards.
The deal will help to create up to 1,500 jobs, allow up to 2,000 homes to be built and generate up to £70 million in public and private investment.
The key features of the deal are:
- A package of road schemes to support the Eastern Villages development – a new urban expansion to the east of Swindon, speeding up the delivery of 8,000 new homes by 2026 to meet local housing needs.
- A new science park at Porton Down, which will provide facilities for research, development and advanced skills training for companies specialising in life sciences and healthcare.
- A range of transport schemes to help people and goods move more easily around Swindon and Wiltshire’s key growth zones.
And provisional allocations to projects starting in 2016/17 and beyond include:
- Swindon Rapid Transit: A rapid transit scheme to deliver a step-change in the uptake of sustainable travel options in Swindon town centre in particular.
- Wichelstowe infrastructure: Project to provide additional access across the M4 to the Wichelstowe housing development, together with associated connecting infrastructure.
- Chippenham station hub: Redevelopment of Chippenham station including enhanced parking and retail offer and new railway crossing
- A350 Dualling Chippenham Bypass: Dualling the A350 north of Chippenham from Badger Roundabout to Chequers Junction.
LEP chairman Barry Dennington said: “This deal is a positive step for the Swindon and Wiltshire economy and shows that our plans for growth are innovative, distinctive and deliverable.
“We are thrilled that Porton Science Park will now be delivered, creating 2,000 jobs along with developments in a major urban extension in Swindon that will see up to 8,000 new homes being built.
“Confirmation of our outstanding City Deal is welcomed and the ability to provide Higher Education opportunities locally will make a real difference to businesses and residents alike.
“We are really delighted that our LEP Board, including Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council, have played a significant role throughout this process and look forward to our continuing partnership.”
Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott said: “Wiltshire welcomes this news and the funding that will be allocated to support economic growth in the county. This will help to safeguard and create new jobs and build a skilled workforce for the future.”
Swindon Borough Council Leader David Renard said: “This funding will help hugely in our efforts to bring inward investment and growth to Swindon. Crucial to this is the creation of new and attractive places to live with quality housing and facilities, such as the proposed Eastern Villages, along with reliable, efficient transport choices for everyone.
“This money kick-starts both. I am very pleased that the government has backed our vision for the town and more importantly, put money into it.”