Thursday, August 13, 2020

£24m grant funding approved for priority economic projects in Leicestershire

£24.43m of grant funding is to be awarded from the Leicester and Leicestershire Business Rates Pool fund.

The fund is managed by the LLEP on behalf of local authorities and grants are allocated for priority economic projects that drive productivity and growth across the Leicester and Leicestershire area.

Following discussions involving the LLEP and the local authorities, agreement was reached to allocate grant funding towards a range of revenue, small capital and large capital projects.

The grant funding is a welcome injection of support for the projects in light of the current uncertain economic climate local authorities are facing.

The projects include improvements to town centres and public realm areas, development of transport and highways infrastructure including cycleways and footpaths, upgrades to public wi-fi in town centres, targeted employment initiatives and development of arts, cultural and leisure facilities.

Following a rigorous appraisal process the funding is to be allocated across the local area as follows:

Leicester City Council                       £8.2m

Leicestershire County Council        £8.7m

Leicestershire District Councils        £7.53m

Some of the projects being supported by the funding across the county include:

  • £750k to provide grants up to £10k to businesses in the county to assist their recovery from COVID-19
  • £3.75m for Desford Crossroads – plans include building a roundabout to reduce congestion and improve journey times on the A47 and B582
  • £100k to support the Superfast Leicestershire broadband project

The city will see support for some large and small capital projects such as:

  • £4m for the Transforming Cities Green Growth Corridors programme that will see investment in sustainable transport schemes to support economic growth.
  • £2.5m to expand and refurbish Jewry Wall to create a national quality Roman Leicester museum and two new galleries at New Walk museum.
  • £400k for the Phoenix 2020 project that will see an extension to this key centre for film and digital arts to double its economic and cultural contribution to the city.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Investment in new infrastructure to support business in the city is greatly welcomed. The funding will support sustainable transport schemes for public transport, walking and cycling on key routes into the city and will contribute to our £80m Transforming Cities programme.

“Support for the expansion of Phoenix Cinema and refurbishment and expansion of Jewry Wall Roman Museum will provide a boost for the city’s cultural facilities during the recovery from COVID-19.“

Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “It’s been an extremely tough time for businesses, and I’m delighted to have secured this funding. Boosting the local economy is our priority and it will provide much-needed cash to help companies get back on their feet.

“Driving growth is also at the heart of plans to help Leicestershire recover from the coronavirus pandemic. And this money enables us to press on with key plans to cut congestion and improve journey times.“

Councillor Jonathan Morgan is leader of Charnwood Borough Council. He spoke on behalf of the District and Borough Councils and said: “District and Borough Councils have a lead role in driving growth across the county and now, more than ever, we need to support our local communities and businesses.

“This funding will provide a very welcome injection towards our local recovery and builds upon the nearly £120m Leicestershire’s district councils have paid in business grants over the last three months; demonstrating our ongoing commitment to our towns and villages.“

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