£11.3m funding for Gloucestershire projects to get building
By Rob Freeman | 4th August 2020
Five infrastructure projects across Gloucestershire will share £11.3million as part of the Government's plan to build a road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The cyber and digital sectors feature heavily in the projects which are expected to create and protect more than 1,000 jobs.
The funding, secured and distributed via Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership GFirst LEP, is part of the Government's £900million Getting Building Fund.
GFirst LEP worked with public, private and voluntary sectors to submit bids that were 'shovel ready', would create jobs, aid recovery and support the green agenda.
Many of the ambitions were identified in GFirst LEP's draft Local Industrial Strategy that was published in late 2019.
The five projects in Gloucestershire that will receive funding are:
The Minster Innovation Exchange (Cheltenham Borough Council and Hub8) - £3.1million
Low carbon modular construction delivering innovative co-working space in central Cheltenham.
It will provide a purpose-built performance, event and community venue, connect to the High Street from the Cheltenham Minster grounds and act as a pilot for developments at the Cyber Park.
The Gloucestershire Applied Digital Skills Centre (Cirencester College) - £4.48million
A landmark new building, modelled on digital industries delivering the skills needed in the cyber and digital sectors.
Cyber Incubation Units (Gloucestershire College) - £950,000
Creating a range of new office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and co-working facilities designed specifically for high-tech, cyber-based entrepreneurs and innovators, with access to educational facilities.
The Digital Innovation Farm (Hartpury University) - £1.25million
Creating new innovation and demonstration workspace for high growth SMEs operating within the agri-tech sector to explore, test, trial, research and develop products or enhance existing ones.
A Construction Education Centre (KW Bell Group Ltd) - £1.96million
Multi-purpose conference and training facility in Cinderford, designed to link the construction industry with education by providing a learning environment that is digitally advanced, safe, interactive and relevant.
The centre will be co-funded by the family business KW Bell which has been operating within the Forest of Dean for more than 50 years.
GFirst LEP chief executive David Owen said: "In these challenging times this is welcome news for the county's economy.
"The LEP team has worked hard with partners to ensure our pipeline of creative and innovative infrastructure projects is always up to date.
"A lot of work went into producing our draft Local Industrial Strategy last year and it included extensive consultation, and the strategy was warmly welcomed across all areas of the business community."
He continued: "The list of projects that we are now able to fund focus heavily on the cyber, digital and agri-tech sectors, sectors that were identified in our Local Industrial Strategy as the top growth opportunities in the county."
A further £4.875million is being invested into the projects, which are predicted to create 959 jobs and safeguard a further 82, by the public and private sector.
Dr Diane Savory, who chairs GFirst LEP, said: "During this time of economic uncertainty I am really pleased these projects have been given the green light to get shovels in the ground.
"These projects will give Gloucestershire's businesses and young people greater opportunities to access the very best type of tailored support that is needed now more than ever."
More than 300 projects will receive a share of the Getting Building Find to back up Prime Minister Boris Johnson's pledge to "Build, Build, Build".
The investment is expected to deliver up to 45,000 homes and 85,000 jobs across the country.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "As we get Britain building we are also laying the foundations for a green economic recovery by investing in vital infrastructure for local communities, creating jobs and building environmentally friendly homes.
"This government is determined to level up all parts of the country and this funding will not only give a much-needed boost to our economic recovery, it will help build the good quality, affordable homes the country needs."
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