Out-Law News | 08 Jul 2014 | 4:47 pm | 1 min. read
England's 39 LEPs, partnerships between local authorities and businesses to decide on priorities for investment in their areas, have each agreed deals with the government to receive a share of £2bn towards specific projects in 2015/16. Additional funding has been confirmed in some areas towards long-term projects starting in 2016 and beyond.
The government expects its investment to be matched by twice as much funding from local sources and to "lead to work on more than 150 roads, 150 housing developments and 20 stations".
The London Enterprise Panel secured £151.5 million in funding for 2015/16, including increases to the Housing Revenue Account borrowing limit to help deliver affordable homes in boroughs including Tower Hamlets, Westminster and Hackney. The wider deal is expected to allow the construction of 5,000 homes across London by 2021.
The deal for the Leeds City Region includes commitments towards housing growth in key areas including: urban extensions in East Leeds and at the York Central regeneration site; a bridge to improve access to housing land in Skipton; and site remediation at the City Fields site in Wakefield.
The deal for Greater Birmingham and Solihull focuses on maximising the benefits from High Speed Rail 2, but also includes a £12.5m commitment towards: unblocking small housing sites; improving access to enable the growth of a proposed urban extension near Sutton Coldfield; and developing three brownfield sites in East Staffordshire.
Deputy prime minister and chair of the local growth cabinet committee Nick Clegg said: "Growth Deals will create thousands of jobs, provide incredible new training opportunities for young people, build thousands of new homes and improve transport links across the country".
"This funding is coming later than expected but is good news right across the country," said Jeremy Blackburn, head of UK policy at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. "LEPs, cities and combined authorities now need – as per their strategic plans – to be able to put regional and local growth funding behind major development projects, including housing."
"The British Property Federation (BPF) has long extolled the benefits of devolution of funds, believing it will play an important part in enabling regions outside the capital to flourish under local leadership," said BPF chief executive Liz Peace. "Providing capital for infrastructure, new homes and skills is crucial for ensuring long-term economic growth and prosperity across the country, not just in London."
Discussions for future years of the Growth Deal are expected to begin immediately.