Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Telford’s 'Station Quarter' development moves closer after £7 million funding bid success

The planned public-private partnership will potentially include a hotel and leisure facilities on land between the town’s railway station and shopping centre. It was one of three brownfield redevelopment projects covered by a Local Growth Fund bid submitted by Telford & Wrekin Council.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership [LEP], which distributes the grants, approved the bid in March, and council leader Shaun Davies used his powers to assign nearly £12,000,000 from the 2020-21 budget for match funding and other delivery costs.

On Thursday, June 18, the borough’s cabinet will be asked to endorse this decision and the purchase of a site in Telford town centre.

A report, by council regeneration and investment manager Dawn Toy and housing investment programme manager Kate Callis, says the Local Growth Fund money is awarded by the government to LEPs for distribution within their regions.

“In November 2019 the council was alerted by the Marches LEP to the fact that circa £27,000,000 of unspent LGF grant was available to eligible projects that could commit to expenditure by the end of March 2021,” they write.

Challenging

The LEP’s “urgent call” required initial submissions of interest to be submitted in December. Despite this “challenging timescale”, Ms Callis and Ms Toy write, Telford & Wrekin submitted three.

They add: “Following initial feedback from the LEP, they were refined into a single ‘Stronger Communities’ package, with an updated expression of interest submitted in mid-January seeking £7,000,000 of grant funding.”

Agenda papers for the LEP’s March 24 board meeting say Telford & Wrekin’s bid incorporates Station Quarter and sites in Donnington and Wellington. This and five other bids from across Shropshire and Herefordshire were approved.

Ms Callis and Ms Toy write that a “final funding agreement” is expected to be completed this month and, in order to achieve this in time, “a ‘strong leader decision’ was taken to utilise £11,850,000 from the Regeneration and Investment Fund […] to deliver the programme and provide the match funding required”.

The package, they add, covers 50 acres of brownfield land and will create approximately 60 jobs in the town centre and 500 homes.

The grant money will be used to purchase land currently in private ownership, “which will allow the council to retain control over development and masterplan”, and cover infrastructure and development costs.

Source : Shropshire Star

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