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Essex: Share of Government funding worth £442m coming to county

Launch of Superfast Broadband in Essex at Severalls Business Park, Colchester, a scheme boosted by today's government funding announcement.  Pictured right is Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council.

Launch of Superfast Broadband in Essex at Severalls Business Park, Colchester, a scheme boosted by today's government funding announcement. Pictured right is Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council.

The Government is today announcing its award to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) from the Local Growth Fund.

A series of specific schemes have been earmarked for funding in north Essex in 2015/16.

• A414 Maldon to Chelmsford Route Based Strategy Package

Road repairs, traffic management, congestion relief, cycling, safety and public transport measures

• Chelmsford City Integrated Transport Package
Public space linking nearby development to the station, and improved accessibility including reconstruction of station entrances to increase capacity

• Colchester Local Sustainable Transport Programme

Capital investment in measures designed to encourage walking, cycling and public transport

• Colchester Integrated Transport Package A and B

Improvements to town centre approaches including bus priority and traffic management measures ahead of the introduction of Park and Ride, due to open in March 2015.

• Colchester Broadband for Business Parks (£0.5million)

Project to deliver high speed broadband to business parks around Colchester borough. This scheme has already been launched by Essex County Council.

In 2016/17 an estimated package of £11.9m will be spent on route based strategies in Essex. These include:

• A131 Chelmsford to Braintree

• A414 Harlow to Chelmsford

• A133 Colchester to Clacton

• A131 Braintree to Sudbury

A share of more than £350million of Government funding will be heading to Essex from 2016.

On top of £84million being committed to the region over the next year, the Whitehall has indicated a further £358.2m will be given from 2016 to 2021.

Essex, Kent and East Sussex form the SELEP which will receive the total amount of £442.2m.

Discussions will now take place to negotiate where the future spending will be committed to specifically.

The deal will help to create up to 35,000 jobs, build more than 18,000 homes and generate up to £100million in public and private investment.

However senior councillors had hoped to attract £350m in central government funding for the Essex alone up until 2021 as part of the overall SELEP bid.

Much of the funding agreed for the 2015/16 year is focused on transport schemes, with £27m going on Essex road and rail projects in 2015/16.

These include town and city centre transport packages for Chelmsford and Colchester, as well as improvements on the A414 between Chelmsford and Maldon.

There will also be a £22m investment in colleges and training providers in a bid to raise skill levels and ensure local people can compete for jobs. The SELEP will run a competitive exercise to allocate funding, and local authorities have pledged £44m of its own funding to this scheme.

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader and councillor for economic growth and infrastructure at Essex County Council, said: “I am very pleased that Essex has been able to win investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, which will help to boost infrastructure, support local businesses and keep our economy growing.

“The funding that we have secured will help to improve our roads, tackle pinch points on our highways network that cost businesses time and money, and relieve congestion in our town centres.

“It will also help to support small businesses and young people needing new and better skills to succeed in the job market. I would like to thank Essex businesses and other partners for their crucial support in the development of our funding bid, and for their ongoing support.

“We will continue to argue, both as a member of SELEP and in our own right, for more funding and devolution of powers to local partners to help more businesses and create more jobs for Essex residents.”

Peter Jones, chairman of SELEP, added: “This initial funding is tremendously good news for our businesses and residents, addressing years of under-investment in the south east’s transport network. It’s not only a matter of improving connectivity around the area but providing links which open up major new sites for housing and business development.

“The funding will also enable us to support a simpler, streamlined service for businesses to help them grow and prosper, plus investment in our colleges and training providers to raise skills levels.

“In all of this, the chance to bid for further funding provides a great incentive to show we can deliver. By demonstrating how our schemes will generate real growth, homes and jobs, we’ll be well-placed to succeed again with future bids.

“We’re entering a constructive new relationship with the Government, providing us with the flexibility to channel national investment into the projects which are the highest priorities for business success and jobs in the south east.”

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