Scheme to boost housebuilding in Oswestry area wins £9.3m of Government funding

February 2, 2018

A programme of infrastructure improvements in the Oswestry area developed by Shropshire Council has been awarded £9.3m from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).
The money will help much-needed homes to be built and help create jobs.

The funding – from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – will help make housing developments more viable by improving the existing capacity of the road network on the A5 at Mile End, including improvements to two roundabouts along the A5 at Mile End and Whittington Road, and a pedestrian bridge link across the A5 linking the housing area with the proposed employment development.
In total £9,321,963 has been awarded to Shropshire Council – for a scheme named “western Shropshire interchange improvements – unlocking the Marches Gateway for housing and employment growth”.
Nic Laurens, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for economic growth, said:
“I’m delighted that our bid for funding has been successful. Development within Oswestry is constrained by the existing capacity of the road network, and improvements to the strategic highways network are needed to bring forward planned housing and employment land developments. These improvements will stimulate planned housing in Oswestry, which is crucial to support demand for employment land in the area.”
The Marches LEP, which supported Shropshire Council’s funding bid to the HIF, said it was delighted the Marches Gateway project would now go ahead.
Mandy Thorn MBE, LEP Vice-Chair, said:
“This work will be a catalyst for economic growth in Oswestry. It is vital that development land for housing and employment is delivered and infrastructure is put in place to allow that to happen. Improvements on this stretch of the A5 will also help lift constraints which limit the area’s potential to attract businesses and investment.
“The project will kick-start a new phase of prosperity for Oswestry, the second largest market town in Shropshire, benefiting the people who live and work there, both now and in the future.”
Oswestry is identified as a major mixed-use growth area comprising the Oswestry Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE) of 750 dwellings and other housing sites and associated employment development sites comprising 40ha.
Previous improvements to the junction addressed only existing traffic issues, and there has been a significant increase in traffic unrelated to proposed developments.
The £5 billion HIF fund was launched in July 2017 and is designed to unlock up to 200,000 new homes in areas of high demand.
The bids that have been approved today have involved the approval of capital funding for 133 successful bids under the Marginal Viability Fund strand of HIF, worth £866 million.
The Housing Infrastructure Fund was hugely competitive, receiving almost £2bn worth of Marginal Viability Fund bids.
Further information
Unlocking the potential of planned developments in Oswestry is a key priority identified within Shropshire Council’s Economic Growth Strategy.
Funding has been awarded to councils on a highly competitive basis, following a heavily oversubscribed bidding process in 2017. This grant funding for new infrastructure is intended to unlock new homes in the areas of greatest housing demand, and provide funding for the final or missing piece of infrastructure to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly.

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