New Growing Places Round 2 announced

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has launched Round 2 of the Government’s Growing Places Fund, with £3.5 million available to boost the county’s economy.

Now it is urging business and industry to come forward with suitable schemes.

It follows the success of Round 1 when loans were approved for a number of “shovel ready” projects including Worcestershire County Cricket Club and  South Kidderminster Enterprise Park, the former British Sugar factory site.

The Fund is intended “to accelerate delivery of economically viable activity to support growth in the local economy” by facilitating schemes which would otherwise face site constraints or delays – and where the market needs support if these are to be triggered.

The objective is to safeguard and create jobs, unlock wider development, and deliver infrastructure and regeneration improvements.

Projects must begin within 12 months of funding being allocated, deliver change and growth to Worcestershire within a short period, and be completed in a timescale to ensure loan repayment within five years.

Examples would be infrastructure developments such as access roads, utilities installation and flood defence works; construction of new buildings like incubation units; or the refurbishment of redundant buildings.

The LEP is working with Worcestershire County Council which will allocate the funds through loan and equity financing – the intention is to create a sustainable, revolving fund which will continue into the future.

LEP chairman Peter Pawsey said: “The LEP’s vision is to create the right economic environment to inspire businesses, encourage investment and to create lasting and sustainable employment.

“The Growing Places Fund is therefore important to unlock growth and jobs in Worcestershire through a programme of projects funded by either the private or public sector to create the right environment for businesses to invest.”

Interested parties should contact Worcestershire LEP on 01905 346180.