Multi-million pound boost for Cheshire East
Cheshire East Council has agreed to join a new partnership which will provide a huge boost to economic growth in the North West.
Cabinet members unanimously voted to become a limited partner in the North West Evergreen Fund, which is now the Urban Development Fund (UDF) for the Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria sub-regions.
The move will provide Cheshire East with much-needed access to a scheme which has the potential to generate a funding capacity of more than £350m in the North West.
It is in response to the establishment of a European funding initiative called JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas), by the North West Development Agency, supported by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, which promotes investment in urban development projects.
The priority areas of investment for the fund will include:
- Projects which enable businesses to grow and attract inward investment;
- Science research and innovation;
- Building on the region’s strengths in culture and media;
- Maintain and enhance existing town centres, ensuring they remain key assets to the region with the potential for high density sustainable development;
- Promoting a stronger and more sustainable industrial base;
- Ensuring sustainable sites are ready for development.
Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald, Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member with responsibility for resources, said: “The Regional Development Agency (RDA) will be gone by April 2012 and we need a replacement arrangement to access, albeit, reduced support funding.
“This is a great opportunity and it is a good investment for Cheshire East. We would get a good return on it over the next five years.”
The fund will initially be £60m when it is established in December, which is spread across the four sub-regions and would make a contribution towards future regeneration projects.
This money must be invested to produce a return and Cheshire East will be required to make small annual contributions to the fund during the next five years.
Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, said: “This is further great news for Cheshire East off the back of our Local Enterprise Partnership with Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington being confirmed by the Government.
“These opportunities will help to deliver future economic growth for Cheshire and, in Cheshire East we will be lobbying for funding to support our key priorities for Crewe and Macclesfield and revitalising our town centres.”