Town in the bidding to share £2bn fund
THE final details of a bid which could bring millions of pounds of Government money to help Swindon’s infrastructure have been put together.
The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Economic Partnership, which is made up of representatives from Swindon Council, Wiltshire Council and local business, has spent the last few months putting together a proposal which identifies key areas of potential development.
In total the SWLEP has put together a bid just short of £300m, with the Swindon element consisting of just short of £130m and focusing on projects in and around the town centre, Wichelstowe and the Eastern Villages.
This bid will now be put to the Government as it competes with 38 other LEPs for a portion of a £2bn Government fund.
The next stage of the process is not yet known, but the decision on the level of funding is expected to be made before Parliament breaks for summer recess in July.
“At this stage we don’t know whether everyone will get something, with the best bids getting more, or whether a few bids will share the pot.
“While it is unlikely we will get everything that is certainly what we are hoping to achieve.
“If we only get a portion of the money then we have identified projects privately which will get priority.”
The list of projects has been designed to bring in significant portions of growth.
Part of the bid includes money to bring a higher education facility to Swindon as well as a Centre Of Excellence For Sustainable Technologies.
Key infrastructure around the Eastern Villages is also on the list, such as improvements to the A420 and the White Hart junction, as well as the western exit of the Wichelstowe development.
If successful, the Government money will only make up a portion of the overall cash required, with other sources identified, including section 106 money and private funds.
Coun Renard said: “We have to demonstrate each area will bring economic growth.
“If we were to get everything it would be a huge boost to Swindon and the rest of the borough. If we are successful then it could lead to a lot of growth and when we get the money we are keen to get going.”
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