Major step for growth campaign

THE Haven Gateway area of Suffolk and Essex has taken a giant step towards achieving “Growth Point” status - potentially unlocking tens of millions of pounds of Government funding for economic development schemes.

THE Haven Gateway area of Suffolk and Essex has taken a giant step towards achieving “Growth Point” status - potentially unlocking tens of millions of pounds of Government funding for economic development schemes.

Growth Point status would give the fast-growing area around the Haven Ports on the rivers Stour and Orwell priority funding for key infrastructure and development projects, including roads, affordable housing and “green” infrastructure.

The Government yesterday indicated that it is “minded to approve” an application by the Haven Gateway Partnership, involving a first tranche of bids totalling nearly £16.3million towards 14 different projects with a total price tag of nearly £62million.

George Courtauld, chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership, said: “We are obviously delighted to hear that our case has been recognised and that the Government is prepared to work with us to achieve the growth we want to see delivered.

“I am confident that our well-established partnership of public and private sector organisations will rise to the challenge, and more, importantly that the people of the sub-region will see tangible changes on the ground.”

The Haven Gateway Partnership's initial bid includes:

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£3.6million towards the Suffolk Innovation Park project at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich

£2.5million towards regeneration in the King Edward Quay and Haven Road area of Colchester

£2million each for the Cuckoo Farm and St Botolph's areas of Colchester

£1.8million towards business the creation of a business “incubator” unit on Colchester Business Park; and

£1.3million towards improvements to the Gipping footpath and cycleway and improved links between Holywells Park and the Waterfront in Ipswich.

A second tranche of bids will follow, including a number for the Tendring district.

Robert Davidson, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “This is a great example of the success we can achieve by working with others in the Haven Gateway area.

“As a council our aim is to become a prestigious regional centre and by achieving Growth Point status we could receive a share of funding to help pay for the infrastructure we need to make Colchester a great place to live, both now and in the future.”

Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, added: “This is excellent news. It is what we have been working and striving for. The Tendring peninsula will be firmly on the map.

“Although we are not in the first tranche, we are in the second, and we will have projects set up and ready to go.”

The Growth Point programme includes support for the development of infrastructure which is critical to achieving growth targets, such as roads, rail and housing, and human resources in terms of skills and training.

Targets set in the Draft East of England Plan for the Haven Gateway sub-region, to be achieved by 2021, include nearly 51,000 new homes and 50,000 jobs, and with the plan now at an advanced stage of completion compared with other regions the Haven Gateway bid is well placed to succeed. A final decision is expected in October.