The Gloucestershire Growth Deal

“We did it – you did it! Thanks to your help, we’ve secured everything we asked for in the business plan to accelerate economic growth in Gloucestershire.” This is the message today from Dr Diane Savory OBE DL, Chair of GFirst LEP and David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP announcing the Government’s Growth Deal for Gloucestershire.

“We did it – you did it! Thanks to your help, we’ve secured everything we asked for in the business plan to accelerate economic growth in Gloucestershire.” This is the message today from Dr Diane Savory OBE DL, Chair of GFirst LEP and David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP announcing the Government’s Growth Deal for Gloucestershire.

We today agreed a historic Growth Deal with the Government which will see £62.5million invested in Gloucestershire. £23.6million has been confirmed in the first year, and as part of the Government’s on-going commitment to GFirst LEP it has provided an indicative award of a further £38.9million of funding from 2016/17 onwards. The Growth Deal will help to create up to 5000 jobs and generate up to £40 million in public and private investment. This deal is part of a wider Strategic Economic Plan that will lead to 34,000 jobs.

Tasked by Government with creating an ambitious business plan for economic growth for Gloucestershire, GFirst LEP has worked in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sectors to present the best possible case for investment in the county.

The result is an overwhelming endorsement from Government that will see the Gloucestershire Growth Deal deliver Growth Hub services in physical locations across the county, kick start the GREEN project at the Berkeley site, further develop the Growth Zone on the M5 corridor, and deliver some key transport projects across Gloucestershire.

1. The Growth Hub is a unique partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and GFirst LEP to enable businesses to achieve their true growth potential. The Growth Deal will ensure physical spokes for business access to support services are in place across the county, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) centres deliver quality provision across Gloucestershire, and the funding is in place for the next phase of physical development of the Growth Hub central facility.

2. The Gloucestershire centre of excellence in Renewable Energy, Engineering & Nuclear skills (GREEN) is a partnership between GFirst LEP and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College. GREEN will be a world-class centre of excellence for STEM training, providing workforce development training and apprenticeship opportunities based at the decommissioned Berkeley power station site.

3. The Growth Zone will further develop the availability of employment land along the M5 corridor in order to attract and retain high value-added businesses by providing valuable space and the necessary transport infrastructure for business expansion. Initial focus will be on development at junction 9 and junction 10 of the M5 and in particular the opportunity provided by the Ashchurch site near Tewkesbury.

In addition Government have confirmed new investment in major infrastructure schemes across Gloucestershire:

• £4.36 million will improve the A419 corridor between Stonehouse and the M5

• £1.15 million will improve access to the Berkeley site for the GREEN project

• £4.7 million will ensure that the re-development of the Kings Quarter bus station in Gloucester happens

• £1 million will develop a robust transport strategy for Lydney

And Government were so impressed by the business plan that they have provisionally allocated funding to an additional five schemes:

• £1.99 million provisional allocation to repair the Berkeley bridges, reducing travel times on the A38

• £3.8 million provisional allocation to fund the Cinderford Northern Quarter Link Road

• £2 million provisional allocation to upgrade the Gloucester South West bypass

• £1 million provisional allocation to upgrade St Barnabas Roundabout in Gloucester

• £1.6 million provisional allocation to upgrade the B4063 Staverton Bridge junction

The Gloucestershire Growth Deal also ensures that the Highways Agency is committed to working with Gloucestershire County Council to develop a compelling business case to secure funding to address the A417 Missing Link.

By investing in these three key projects and vital transport projects across the county, the plan will accelerate economic growth across the county and deliver significant outcomes against three core priorities:

1. Skills: to develop a highly employable and economically productive population.

2. Connection: develop an infrastructure that supports economic growth.

3. Promotion: create a quality of working life recognised as the best in Europe.

Dr Diane Savory OBE DL, Chair of GFirst LEP said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that the Government has recognised the huge economic potential in Gloucestershire by making this substantial award. This award reflects the Government’s confidence in the strength and ambition of the business plan for Gloucestershire, known as the Strategic Economic Plan, to stimulate significant private sector investment and drive business expansion.

The Gloucestershire Growth Deal brings together different funding streams designed to support local growth and we’re now able to unlock the economic potential across the county to create thousands of new jobs, increase exporting opportunities, fuel business expansion and firmly promote Gloucestershire as the county for inward investment.

Today’s announcement empowers GFirst LEP to work more closely with the private, public and voluntary sectors. This targeted investment will allow us to use the combined power and influence of Gloucestershire PLC to make decisions and changes at a local level, to address local priorities.

We’re now delighted to implement the Strategic Economic Plan in accordance with the funding allocation, to ensure we achieve the best economic outcome for the county. This sizeable funding allows us to make the necessary investments over the next five years to ensure our Strategic Economic Plan becomes a reality.

Adding to this, David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP said: “This decision confirms the Government’s belief that significant economic growth will be achieved across the county by £0.5bn and places Gloucestershire firmly on the map for world class business.

Gloucestershire is a great place to do business. The hard work of the business community, voluntary sector and public sector, alongside the huge commitment made by GFirst LEP team and board, has paid off. This commitment from Government now creates a catalyst for sustainable, long-term growth across the county that will increase our exports, expand our capacity for innovation and accelerate the quality and range of our skills base.”

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “This Growth Deal will see over £145 million of investment into the area which is expected to create over 5000 new jobs and 1000 apprentice opportunities.

“The GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership has demonstrated their commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, and I have seen first-hand how their work is having a real and tangible impact on the local economy.

“I look forward to this work expanding as a result of the Growth Deal they secured today.”

Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council and a Board Member of GFirst LEP said : “This is fantastic news for Gloucestershire and a great testament of joint working between the public and private sector. Now the hard work begins to deliver the plan and continue to pursue the additional investment needed for such projects as the A417 loop.”
Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts will be visiting the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus today to make the announcement and tour the site for the new Growth Hub. The Minister will be meeting Dr Diane Savory OBE DL, Chair of GFirst LEP, David Owen, Chief Executive and Board Members of GFirst LEP, joined by Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University and Laura Crabb, Director of Business Development at the University to understand the impact that The Growth Hub will have in supporting businesses to reach their growth potential. As part of his visit, David Willetts will also be meeting Kevin Hamblin, Principal and Chief Executive of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, to talk about the opportunities that GREEN will have for the county and development of vital skills in STEM.

University of Gloucestershire Vice-Chancellor Stephen Marston said: “Today’s announcement is a great endorsement from the Government for the partnership between the University and GFirst LEP to drive innovation and growth in our county.

The University is committed to supporting business success and economic development in our area. We have formed a strong partnership with GFirst LEP, based on a shared ambition to make Gloucestershire a great place to set up and grow high-value, knowledge-intensive businesses. The Growth Hub is at the heart of that ambition. It is an innovative way to bring together the complementary expertise and resources of the University and the LEP, to provide an integrated range of services for business.

The Hub will be located at the University’s Oxstalls campus. We are building it now. We are recruiting staff now. It will open in October, with links to a number of future Growth Hub “spokes” across the county. We will be providing additional services for new start-up businesses and businesses with high-growth potential.”

Kevin Hamblin, Principal and Chief Executive of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College said: “GREEN will have a huge economic impact in the county to help address the scarcity of skills in STEM. As a centre of excellence, GREEN will be a major accelerator to skills development to meet the growing demands of the business community.”

For more information about GFirst LEP and the Strategic Economic Plan, please click here.

See the Gloucestershire Media coverage here.

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