£1.5 million Redundant Building Grant Scheme launched
A £1.5 million fund which is expected to help create around 300 jobs across the Marches by breathing new life into redundant buildings is open for business, it was announced today.
The Marches Redundant Building Grant Scheme will see small businesses and start-ups in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin given grants to bring unused buildings back into productive economic use.
The project, which was given a £1.5 million boost as one of 176 successful bids to the Government's Regional Growth Fund, was launched this week. Endorsed by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and administered by Herefordshire Council, it is hoped the scheme will create around 300 jobs between now and March 2017.
Chairman of the Marches LEP, Dr Geoffrey Davies, said the programme was also expected to create around 165 indirect jobs, supporting more than 50 businesses.
He said: “There has been a high level of interest already in the scheme from across the LEP area, with more than 60 inquiries so far, even before the programme was officially open for business.
“This project will support other wider LEP issues as well, helping to regenerate market towns, retain and re-use historic buildings and enabling business expansion. It will also provide an incentive for businesses considering relocation to the Marches region.”
Business Minister Mark Prisk MP, said: “The Marches redundant building scheme is a very innovative project
supported by the Regional Growth Fund that will have a significant impact in the local area in helping small
businesses to find affordable premises while making efficient use of empty buildings and ensuring much needed job creation.
“The Government is committed to this cause, and we have announced our own drive to help small businesses use empty government buildings. Small businesses need suitably flexible and affordable spaces to start their business and I welcome the partnership's drive to support the next generation of British businesses.”
Councillor Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, added: “We have been delighted to see the level of interest in the scheme and now we are officially open for business, we will look forward to receiving formal applications for this funding.
“It will be used to provide capital grant support of between £3,000 and up to £50,000 to small businesses and
start-ups to transform redundant buildings into a base for their enterprises.”
The grants available are for a maximum of 30 per cent contribution towards the project cost, and cannot be used to assist with residential conversion, or buildings converted for agricultural or horticultural uses.
The Marches Redundant Buildings Grant Scheme will build on the success of the previous RBG programme carried out on behalf of the Rural Regeneration Zone. This scheme awarded £2.9m to 100 businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Worcestershire between 2003 and 2011, and has created and safeguarded 845 jobs to date.
March 14 2012