A project to transform a dilapidated four-hectare site in Telford into a state of the art industrial facility could provide up to 240 jobs starting with those in construction – thanks to £720,000 of financing from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
In the first deal of its kind in the region, the LEP’s pioneering Marches Investment Fund (MIF) has provided the loan to Mold-based developer, Dicentra, so that the former Brintons carpet factory on Halesfield, can be brought back into productive economic use.
Paul Hinkins, Deputy Chair of the Marches LEP and Chair of the Telford Business Board, said the loan was the first to be made to the private sector from the fund, which has more than £4 million available to support projects.
He said: “We are tremendously excited to see this project come to fruition. We are delighted that through our Marches Investment Fund, we have been able to support Dicentra in making this transformation happen.
“The LEP is focused on how it can support the private sector to build businesses and create jobs and the Marches Investment Fund is a very real way of doing this. We know that support of this kind where finance can facilitate stalled projects to move forward, is exactly what businesses keen to grow are looking for in the current economic climate.
“In addition to bringing commercial schemes to fruition, the fund can also be used by housebuilders looking to complete schemes and, through loan assistance, by projects needing to complete their final stage feasibility studies.”
The challenge was to transform over 2 acres of steeply sloping ground into one of Telford’s largest and most modern yards. Thousands of tonnes of soil have been removed so that up to 6000 sq m of disused industrial floor space could be commercially developed and as Dicentra director Gerry Jewson explains, the £720,000 loan, and the competitive interest rates, made a huge difference to the project.
“The loan funding that we received meant that this project was able to move forward when it did. Whilst we had secured interest from a tenant, without a tenancy agreement signed we were prevented from considering more traditional funding options – the Marches Investment Fund provided a solution to this.”
With a significant amount of levelling off work completed, including a significant cut and fill exercise, a yard in which deliveries can now be done in a safe and efficient manner has been achieved.
Mr Jewson added: “The application process was straight forward and the support received from the Marches LEP team throughout the whole process has been invaluable.
“The competitive loan rate was not only attractive from a commercial perspective, but it’s also been reassuring to know that the interest charges will go to further benefit the local community.”
Interest payments from the scheme go back into the loan funding pot, which is also further boosted by a share of receipts from sales of development land in Telford – an agreement negotiated as part of the Marches LEP’s Growth Deal with Government in 2014.