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C&W LEP Secures £15.5m for New Deal Recovery Projects

LEP News 05/08/2020

£15.5M awarded as part of the Getting Building Fund

Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been awarded £15.5 million as part of the government’s Getting Building Fund.  The support package is part of the region’s work to build a better future and it is to be invested into three key infrastructure projects that can drive economic growth.

The funding will unlock ‘shovel-ready’ schemes in Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, and Warrington which, as set out in the Prime Minister’s ‘New Deal’ programme for Britain, can deliver jobs, skills, and infrastructure across the region.

The beneficiaries include a new Validation Centre of Excellence at Alderley Park in Cheshire East.  The Centre will focus on innovative diagnostics, biomarkers and complex medicines and develop the UK’s onshore diagnostic capability at the site.

The investment will capitalise on the success of the Lighthouse Lab at Alderley Park, which is run by the Medicines Discovery Catapult. It will deliver a new Category 3 biosafety facility and a national biobank for testing of new diagnostics, biomarkers, and therapeutics for highly infectious pathogens, including respiratory viruses such as Covid-19.

The £70 million Northgate scheme in Cheshire West and Chester will also be backed by the Getting Building Fund through £5m invested to create the Chester Drainage Tunnel. This will help to cover the additional costs associated with providing sufficient capacity within the Chester’s drainage system to allow development on a number of other key sites and enable the project to be completed by November 2021.

In Warrington, the creation of an all-electric Bus Fleet Depot on land owned by Warrington Council is to be backed by Getting Building Fund.  The contribution will go towards the extra costs of making the depot suitable for an all-electric bus fleet and would be powered by electricity generated by the Warrington Borough Council’s investments in Solar Farms, thereby maximizing its low carbon credentials.  The depot is a key component in supporting the town’s sustainable growth by encouraging attractive alternatives to the car as well as halting the decline in bus patronage which Cheshire and Warrington has experienced over the last few years.

Clare Hayward MBE DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP said: “We are delighted to have been successful with our bid and these three projects will make a significant difference at this challenging time.  These projects will support our vision of healthy, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and will have an impact on the quality of life, improving infrastructure and creating employment and training opportunities. The contribution from the Getting Building Fund is essential in helping drive the recovery and supports the dynamism in all parts of our economy.” ­

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said:  “We want to build back better to fuel a green economic recovery across the country by investing in infrastructure, creating jobs and building the homes people need. That is why, we are investing £900 million in shovel-ready projects through our Getting Building Fund, including £15.5 million in the new Validation Centre of Excellence at Alderley Park, the Northgate scheme in Chester and the all-electric Bus Fleet Depot in Warrington. This funding will unlock homes, create new jobs and deliver investment in commercial and green spaces and a much-needed boost to the local economy.”

LEP Network Chair, Mark Bretton: “As business led partnerships with a ready-made pipeline of projects, LEPs responded swiftly to the Prime Minister’s call for infrastructure projects with more available when government is ready.

“LEPs ‘can do’ business attitude has created a proven track record of complex delivery, landing projects at scale, on time and to budget. The foundations they are building for local recovery in their Five Point Plan will underpin our national recovery.”

Support from the Getting Building Fund goes alongside a range of on-going measures provided by Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, and Warrington councils, and the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, to help manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and get businesses and communities on the path to recovery.