The Year in Review
We have continued to deliver on a range of programmes from skills to energy, supporting businesses through the changing economic climate.
Among many highlights over the last year, the partnership has celebrated the reopening of the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings after a £28million eight-year restoration, seen Newport’s innovative Ni.PARK welcome its first businesses and the pioneering Integrated Construction Wetlands scheme in Herefordshire become the first project in Europe to trade carbon credits.
The LEP – which was working against the backdrop of a much-delayed Government review into its future – remained focussed on its role driving economic growth in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin throughout the year.
That role has seen it deliver:
- More than £270million investment – including match funding – through the Local Growth Fund and Getting Building Fund since the LEP was established.
- More than 15,000 jobs expected to be created through this investment.
- 12,600 new homes to be built and 11,000 learners assisted.
- £14million of investment into six key projects to improve town centres, tackle fuel poverty, boost the environment and help develop a new world-leading engineering campus for NMITE in Herefordshire through the Getting Building Fund.
- More than 15,000 businesses supported through the Marches Growth Hub.
- A new £4million energy fund to help release capacity onto the energy grid, support businesses to reduce their energy use and increase green skills, including the launch of the £1.5million Marches Energy Grant to help businesses cut energy costs and emissions.
- A combined £18million investment by three separate foreign-owned companies in Herefordshire, creating 80 new jobs across the county.
- 62 schools and colleges supported by the Marches Careers Hub, attracting 15 new enterprise advisers.
Alongside this, the pioneering Telford Land Deal – a partnership between the LEP, Homes England and Telford & Wrekin Council – has continued to create new opportunities across the borough, and has now delivered gross land sales of £41.9million, supporting the creation of 1,926 new jobs and 1,284 new homes over the past seven years.
The Mile End roundabout in Oswestry opened as part of a £17.7million project supported by £5.7million of LEP investment to ease congestion, improve the gateway to the town and open up commercial land for 655 homes and the development of Oswestry Innovation Park, creating 128 new jobs.
The year also saw a number of new board appointments and the launch of a search for the next LEP chair, with Mandy Thorn MBE having stepped down in November of this year. The LEP board is now made up of 44 per cent of women – well ahead of Government targets.
The Government review confirmed that LEPs would remain in place in areas not covered by a devolution deal – such as Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin at the current time – and that LEPs would continue to have an important role in engaging with, and representing, the private sector.