£4m available for development projects

November 23, 2015

Private developers, housing companies and companies that have expansion plans are being encouraged to take advantage of £4m of funding, released today, that will help bring forward development projects across the Marches to create much needed homes and jobs.

The funds, announced by The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), are part of its Marches Investment Fund which was initially launched in July of this year and is open for applications until February 19 2016.

Speaking on the release on the second round of funding, The Marches Investment Fund Manager, Caroline Cattle, said:

“We believe this funding is a very attractive offer and I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss the application process with any organisation that has a development project planned, or on hold, as this could really help fast track those plans.

“This round of funding will work in exactly the same way as the first with funds provided in the form of a loan, equity or joint venture.”

Applications that were made during the first round of funding, with a total value of £3.5m, are currently going through due diligence with successful applicants to be announced in due course Caroline Cattle, continues:

“It has been enormously encouraging to see the applications which have been received since we first launched this fund and we’ll soon be in a position to announce the projects that will move forward to boost economic growth and deliver much needed homes and jobs in the region.

The fund was launched following an award from the Government’s Growing Places Fund and provides capital loan funding for stalled projects that will then be able to quickly start and create economic growth. It also provides loan assistance to projects needing to complete their final stage feasibility studies.

Chairman of the Marches LEP Graham Wynn OBE added: “Our Strategic Economic Plan set out clear goals in terms of job creation in key sectors and the development of further quality housing. This fund makes a significant contribution towards realising those goals and the applications received in the first round bear witness to this. We look forward to reviewing the next tranche of applications and providing the businesses and people of the Marches with the conditions necessary to achieve great things.”

The minimum capital loan request remains set at £250,000 and should not exceed 60% of the value of the completed project, whilst applications to support final stage feasibility projects will need to be completed within eight months and should not exceed 50% of the cost of the study. For feasibility applications, the minimum loan is set at £20,000 and the upper limit is capped at £100,000. Funds agreed for final stage feasibility studies will not guarantee future loan funding for subsequent capital projects although the developers are welcome to apply.

Expression of Interest forms can be requested via the Fund Manager Caroline Cattle after satisfactory completion of the appropriate preliminary project assessment form.

The deadline for Expressions of Interest forms to be submitted is February 19 2016 and shortlisted applicants will be informed by mid-March 2016.

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk | email: enquiries@marchesgrowthhub.co.uk.

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: www.marchescareershub.co.uk | email: info@marchescareershub.co.uk

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact: gary.spence@shropshire.gov.uk

For any finance queries please contact: michelle.hodgkiss@shropshire.gov.uk

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact: Camilla.Mulholland@evelyn.com

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