£17m jackpot for region

DETAILS of a £17million investment into Essex and Suffolk to help regenerate town centres, deliver new homes and create local jobs have been revealed.

DETAILS of a £17million investment into Essex and Suffolk to help regenerate town centres, deliver new homes and create local jobs have been revealed.

The Haven Gateway Partnership, which aims to boost economic growth in the area, was told last year it would receive the major boost over three years from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Yesterday its board members met to choose which projects would benefit - with Essex set to enjoy a £7.5million boost and Suffolk schemes set for more than £9 million.

The projects selected included Colchester town centre improvements, contaminated land clean up in the Hythe area of the town and the north Colchester park and ride.

In the Tendring district money will go to the Harwich quayside regeneration and improvements to Clacton, Frinton and Walton.

In Suffolk, Ipswich looks set to receive £4.8m over the next three years, Babergh £1.56m and Suffolk Coastal £2.9m for a variety of projects.

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Suffolk county councillor Eddie Alcock, who is a member of the Haven Gateway Partnership Management Committee, welcomed the news.

“It will enable further economic growth and help us to regenerate town centres, build new homes and create more jobs - attracting new businesses and funding improvements to the local infrastructure,” he said.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said the money would be spent on flood defences, town centre enhancements, regeneration of the Ipswich Village Commercial Zone around Princes Street and Portman Road and improvements to the A12 and A14.

Colin Hart, cabinet member for economic development at Suffolk Coastal District Council, said they had secured £1.4m for 08/09 - with the rest set to be confirmed at a later date.

“The bulk of the money will be spent carrying out important infrastructure improvements around the Innovation Martlesham area, in partnership with BT, that will boost the existing research centre and help support the development of the proposed global centre of excellence,” he said.

“The rest will help fund schemes to improve traffic flows in the centre of Felixstowe and on the A12 and A14, along with in-depth research into the local needs for business, housing, jobs, outdoor sports and parks.”

In Essex a total of £6.7 million has been earmarked for the capital projects during the three years with another £612,500 going towards revenue projects.

Stephen Castle, the Essex county councillor in charge of economic development and regeneration, said: “Not only will this money help us to regenerate town centres, deliver new homes and create local jobs, it will also help improve neighbourhoods, attract new businesses to the north of the county and fund improvements to the local environment.”

Tendring District Council is set to benefit to the tune of £2.25million for capital projects over the next three years - with a further £200,000 earmarked for revenue projects.

Robert Davidson, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said their funding would help with regeneration, also providing new high-quality parks and open spaces.

He added it could help deliver better-paid jobs and in partnership with Essex County Council, ensure that Colchester's transport infrastructure is fit for purpose.

He said: “We are now determined to focus on other key projects, in particular the new junction on the A12 to both relieve congestion in the town and service the new community stadium and quality employment land in the north of the borough.”

The gateway, which takes its name from the ports of Harwich, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Mistley, was set up in 2001 and includes Colchester, Tendring, Ipswich and rural parts of south east Suffolk and the Shotley peninsular.

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