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An £8.1 million fund to boost investment in projects which will create homes and jobs in the Marches is being launched today (WED) by the region's Local Enterprise Partnership

The LEP is inviting proposals for projects in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, which will help stimulate economic activity and deliver sustainable private sector jobs and housing.

The Marches LEP Development Fund will see successful projects given loans to address immediate infrastructure and site constraints, helping to get stalled schemes back on track.

Chairman of the Marches LEP, Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE, said: “The partnership is free to make decisions on which schemes will have the greatest impact locally, whether they address transport infrastructure, flood defence work, or a range of land and property projects which require help with capital costs.

We are now inviting Expressions of Interest for the first round of loans from local authorities, the private sector and other potential applicants. Funding will be recycled to ensure sustained investment and growth in future years, with awards available to provide upfront capital for infrastructure schemes.”

The funding has come from the Government's Growing Places Fund, a pot of £570 million allocated to LEPs to unlock sites for development across the UK.

All potential investments must be able meet the broad criteria in a Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA) in order to complete the Expression of Interest. Funding will be provided in the form of a loan and will be subject to interest charges.

Dr Davies added: “Any scheme coming forward would need to demonstrate how it would stimulate sectors with a history of successful operation in the region, including seizing opportunities presented by rebalancing an economy which currently has 28 per cent public sector employment.

“We would also want schemes which will create the conditions and infrastructure most needed to enable and accelerate rates of business growth. The latter includes projects which would maximise opportunities for new technologies such as ‘superfast’ broadband or bring forward land and premises fit for future business needs across the Marches,” he added.

Interested parties who may wish to discuss potential projects can find details of LEP officers who can assist with enquiries at www.marcheslep.org.uk, where further information and details on how to submit an Express of Interest, can also be found.

Expressions of Interest must be returned to the LEP no later than 5pm on May 2.

Written by Scott Buckler
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 11:11

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