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Shovel-ready projects set for £10.5m funding boost

Shovel-ready projects set for £10.5m funding boost Jim Jackson, Chair of CLEP’s Investment Panel

Government has confirmed that Cumbria will receive £10.5million of funding from the Getting Building Fund - a £900m fund announced by the Prime Minister as part of his ‘New Deal’ to deliver jobs, skills and infrastructure.

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership will receive £10.5m from the fund to support two new projects that need to be delivered by March 2022, with the allocation based on population, COVID-19 exposure and economic resilience.

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) is set to receive £10.5million to fund two projects that will support its recovery and importantly will be completed by March 2022, so that the benefits of the investment are delivered in the short to medium term.

£5.5million is being invested in a Vertical Farming Centre of Excellence at Lillyhall, Allerdale, which will create one of the largest integrated vertical farming operations in the UK. This will complement Cumbria’s existing exceptional food production in meat and dairy and will create 360 new jobs, unlock £48.8m of private sector investment and create a 70,000m 2 carbon neutral facility.

A further £5m will be invested to deliver strategic road improvements on the A595 at Bothel. The scheme will enable essential junction enhancements at Bothel/Torpenhow as well as preliminary works to enable a larger scheme that will deliver climbing lanes and broader route alignment”.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP, said: “We want to build back better to fuel a green economic recovery across the country by investing in infrastructure, creating jobs and building the homes people need.

“That is why, we are investing £900 million in shovel-ready projects through our Getting Building Fund, including £5.5million in the Vertical Farming Centre of Excellence at Lillyhall and £5m towards road improvements on the A595 at Bothel. This funding will unlock homes, create new jobs and deliver investment in commercial and green spaces and a much-needed boost to the local economy.”

Jim Jackson, Chair of CLEP’s Investment Panel said “I very much welcome government’s confirmation The allocation of £10.5m will enable CLEP to invest in two key projects that will deliver the ambitions of our Local Industrial Strategy and support Cumbria on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The creation of a Vertical Farm at Lillyhall will be an important addition to Cumbria’s exceptional food offer alongside our existing meat and dairy offer. It will make an important contribution to food security and significantly reduce the water required in crop growing.

“The A595 is the key route between Carlisle and Southern Scotland and Copeland and Allerdale. Reliability and safety issues have affected the road around Bothel and the planned improvements will alleviate these issues. Importantly, it will also support West Cumbria’s potential to grow its clean energy offer and secure investment in this.”

Mark Jenkinson, the Conservative MP for Workington, said: “I am delighted to see such large investment in my constituency and I welcome this investment by Government, through the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, which has enabled such a large amount of private investment to be unlocked.

“The Vertical Farming Centre of Excellence will make a significant contribution to the Workington constituency. The prospect of 360 new jobs in a carbon neutral facility is fantastic for our area.

“Infrastructure within Cumbria is poor. I, along with my other parliamentary colleagues in Cumbria have been working hard lobbying Government for A595 improvements. I welcome the proposed improvements at Bothel and I will continue to push for more improvements to make journeys along the A595 shorter and safer.”

CLEP will now be working closely with both of the applicants to make sure that the projects can be completed by March 2022 and will deliver the forecasted results in terms of jobs, investment and highways improvements.

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