£7.5 million is being made available by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in a fund aimed at bringing forward development projects that will create much needed homes and jobs across the Marches region covering Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
The Marches Investment Fund, which has been made possible via an award from the Government’s Growing Places Fund, will provide capital loan funding for stalled projects that will then be able to quickly start and create economic growth. It will also provide loan assistance to projects needing to complete their final stage feasibility studies.
The Marches Investment Fund Manager, Caroline Cattle speaking ahead of the launch, said: “This fund will provide an exciting opportunity to help quickly commence projects that have perhaps previously stalled, in order that economic growth can be achieved and much needed homes and jobs created.
“Funding will be provided in the form of a loan, equity or joint venture and will be subject to interest charges and an arrangement fee. We believe that the fund will present very competitive market rates and I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss potential applications from any party unsure of whether it is suitable for them.”
An earlier tranche of funding from the Growing Places Fund supported the creation of a £2.9m Agricultural Engineering Innovation Centre at Harper Adams University. This now facilitates academic and industry collaboration and has led to the creation of new jobs and upskilling across the manufacturing and engineering sectors throughout the Marches, and further afield.
Chairman of the Marches LEP Graham Wynn commented: “The contribution that was made to the specialist centre at Harper Adams has ensured that the facility is having a positive effect on economic development throughout the wider geographical area. This is a facility of world class significance and an important strategic project for us so the results already being achieved are of great value.
“It is vital that this latest release of funds similarly identifies strategic schemes that can clearly demonstrate the contribution that they make to the vision set out in our Strategic Economic Plan, whether that be in terms of the creation of new jobs in key sectors, or the development of further quality housing.”
The minimum capital loan request will be 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.
For enquiries on this fund, contact Yasmin.Sulaman@marcheslep.org.uk