Marches LEP drives region’s transport agenda

June 9, 2023

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has brought together Government and regional specialists for a three-day fact-finding tour to drive the region’s transport improvements.

Officials from the LEP, the Department for Transport, the Department for Business & Trade, regional strategic body Midlands Connect and the three local authorities across the Marches have taken part in the mission to understand the region’s key transport priorities.

The Marches LEP hosted the tour, which took in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin this week.

Marches LEP chief executive Rachel Laver said the event focussed on the complete range of transport priorities, including road, rail, freight, public transport and cycling and walking.

“It is vital that our entire transport infrastructure works for the whole of the Marches region and beyond, enabling businesses and our communities to grow and to thrive.

“The three-day event was a chance to demonstrate some of the most significant transport issues facing our region – for example, a recent report which details the ten slowest roads in the country found three were in the Marches – and to press the case for the investment we need.

“The LEP has commissioned detailed work by hugely respected transport consultants Aecom to help develop a prioritised list of strategic projects for investment across the Marches which we need if we are to deliver an integrated and sustainable transport structure for the future.

“The report will be published later in the summer and will provide compelling evidence of the improvements we believe are necessary, including considering new innovative digital solutions to help tackle rural deprivation and access to employment, services and education.  It’s imperative that rural areas are able to secure investment and don’t continually lose out to urban areas where value for money appears higher based on the number of people who benefit.”

The three-day event began in Herefordshire on June 6, with a look at the plans for Hereford’s new transport hub, the wider ambitions for the city and visits to the Talk Community Hub at Garway, Model Farm development at Ross-on-Wye and Gwatkins Cider Farm.

Shropshire was the focus on June 7, with talks at Shropshire Council’s Shirehall, visits to Craven Arms Business Park and University Centre Shrewsbury and a tour of Shrewsbury town centre. Officials were also given presentations on key schemes including Oswestry’s Mile End Project, the North West Relief Road and Shrewsbury’s Big Town Plan Movement strategy.

The three-day tour concluded in Telford on June 8, taking in Wellington Railway Station, Telford Town Centre and Ironbridge.

Rachel added: “The Marches LEP has a vital role in bringing partners together to ensure that wider issues such as transport and business are considered in a strategic and integrated way. This tour is strong evidence of the value we are adding to the Marches by working collaboratively for the greater good of the whole region.”

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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: | email:

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

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:

For any finance queries please contact:

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

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