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£19m helping hand for stalled building projects
BUILDING projects around the region can get help to get off the ground thanks to a £19m boost.
Construction at more than 43 hectares of stalled development projects will be given a kick-start, securing 2,000 North-East jobs and creating another 1,400, after the North- East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board agreed to lend developers nearly £19m yesterday.
The money will come from North-East LEP’s Growing Places fund, which the LEP secured after putting in a bid to the central Government fund of the same name.
The money will be used for infrastructure works, such as preparing the ground, and at housing and economic regeneration projects which have been delayed because of the economic climate.
Although projects where the money will be used have been identified, the LEP is not ready to identify them because they are subject to due diligence.
Confirmation of their success in securing flexible loans from the fund is expected shortly, and it could unlock more than £156m in private and public investment.
Jeremy Middleton, chairman of the North-East LEP’s investment panel, said: “I’m delighted at the speed we have been able to work at and the immediacy of the Growing Places Fund.
“We opened the fund for applications in March and as a result of hard work and a very strong public-private team we are today placing money into projects that matter for the future economic growth of the region.
“We value the involvement and support from expert advisors who are providing pro bono assistance to LEP’s investment panel. Kevan Carrick, of JK Property Consultants, and Philip Barnes, of Nathaniel Lichfield Partnership, are great examples of the North-East LEP fostering real partnership.
“With professional services from Sanderson Weatherall and Ward Hadaway, procured through Sunderland City Council, and the support of the city council in its role as accountable body, we are getting the job done without significant calls on the public purse.”
The North-East LEP Board also confirmed that it would reopen the Growing Places Fund to bids. The balance of the fund remains positive with up to £6m available for reinvestment. The LEP is determined to make the best and most flexible use of the Growing Places funding.