Business and community leaders came together to kickstart a project to secure up to £25 million of government funding to transform Loughborough’s economic growth.
Charnwood Borough Council hosted the first meeting of the Loughborough Town Deal Board which will manage the development of a town investment plan and submission of bids to the Government’s Town Deal initiative.
The deals aim to regenerate town centres, boost businesses and improve infrastructure and connectivity.
The Loughborough Town Deal Board is being co-chaired by Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, chief executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals in Loughborough, and Cllr Jonathan Morgan, leader of Charnwood Borough Council.
Cllr Morgan said: “The Town Deal is a huge opportunity to bring a significant amount of investment to Loughborough and I am delighted the board has met for the first time. There is a tremendous amount of positivity and enthusiasm about the potential of the Town Deal fund and I look forward to seeing ideas develop.
“The board members all agreed that collaboration and involving all sectors of the community will be a critical component of success. The first meeting was very much about making sure we have the right structures in place so we can move forward at pace and secure the best Town Deal for Loughborough.”
Dr Kotecha said: “The funding from the government’s Town Deal Fund and the overall Loughborough Town Centre Masterplan will create jobs, increase productivity and boost skills throughout the borough. The meeting of the Town Deal board is a crucial first step towards ensuring that Loughborough continues to be a thriving market town and major hub for the Charnwood community.”
The Loughborough Town Deal Board will now co-ordinate the development of a Town Investment Plan which will provide a vision for building on the town’s unique strengths to transform its economic growth prospects.
At its first meeting the board agreed a governance structure including the creation of a sub-group to oversee community engagement and consultation. It also agreed to use government funding already awarded to the Council to commission external support to help with the bid and community engagement.
Town Deals can be used to redevelop vacant buildings and land, drive private sector investment by supporting small businesses and ensure young people have the skills they need to get good jobs. Communities will also be able to consider how they can boost their transport links and increase access to high-speed broadband.