Anglia gets £12m to help kick-start building work

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STALLED construction projects across Suffolk and Norfolk will benefit from a £12 million kick-start fund.

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership learned on Monday that its share of the Government’s £500 million Growing Places Fund will be £12,047,767. The LEP is now working out the criteria for using the cash, which will be released early next year.

A spokesman said: “Guidance from the Government is that they’re expecting it to support schemes that are ready to go and will create jobs quickly.”

The Government says it wants the fund to finance things like early development of strategic link roads and access works to unlock major developments, provision of flood storage capacity to enable development and works to improve local connectivity and reduce congestion, such as extending dual carriageways.

The fund is a rolling fund so a developer would get cash, for example, to build a spine road for an industrial estate or housing development to get started and as it started to sell completed units, would pay back the LEP.

LEP chairman Andy Wood said: “We are already aware of projects that could benefit from this funding and there will be more we need to consider. What is important is that we put in place a transparent process for the allocation of this funding.”

Bury St Edmunds’ MP David Ruffley said: “I would issue a plea to anyone who’s got such a project that has stalled to get in touch with the LEP and copy me in on it.”

However, he was concerned about how applicants would be able to show they would be able to pay back the money in the financial climate.

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock said: “This fund will make a real difference on the ground, improving the lives of residents in West Suffolk and boosting the local economy. From building strategic link roads to reducing congestion, the investment will set businesses free and create jobs.

“The £500 million Growing Places Fund will unlock much-needed local infrastructure. It will be the LEP, made up of the people and businesses who know the local area best, who will decide where this cash boost will be spent.”

Parts of Mr Hancock’s constituency will also benefit from the £10.5 million given to Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP.