Over the past six years, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) has invested £265m into 55 projects designed to benefit you. By 2030, more than 40,000 new homes will be built, 22,000 people will be in new jobs and at least 9,000 more learners qualified across Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and in Milton Keynes.
The Local Growth Fund has been used to support business growth and productivity, fund new transport schemes and homes, and generate new jobs and opportunities for students.
As the Local Enterprise Partnership, our role has been to hold rounds of open bidding in order to identify the best projects to receive this investment and determine which will create the biggest economic impact on our area.
Why? We want to make our home, the South East Midlands, a place where people want to live, work and visit. The Local Growth Fund programme has transformed, and continues to transform, the area, not only significantly boosting the economy, but also creating new jobs, innovative testing facilities, green growth facilities and commercial floorspace.
At SEMLEP, we pride ourselves on being transparent and accountable throughout everything we do. This is why, earlier this year, we commissioned Focus Consultants to conduct an independent programme-level evaluation on the Local Growth Fund Programme.
The evaluation looked at the impact of the programme on the South East Midlands, as well as identifying lessons learnt and areas of improvement for future delivery.
We’re delighted with the findings of our programme. The report demonstrates that with clear strategic direction, vision and collaboration, fantastic results can be achieved.
Evauation report highlights:
Economy – At the end of 2020, the new homes and households created as a result of LGF-funded projects were generating an annual increase in local spending of around £25m. By 2030 this is likely to be nearer £186m a year. At the end of 2020, the annual increase in gross value added (GVA is a measurement of productivity) was around £173m, while in 2030 it is projected to be £656m a year.
Education – At the end of 2020 more than 5,500 learners had been trained or were mid-training. Their increased wages due to new qualifications will result in an estimated £5.9m more being spent locally every year. By 2030 this rises to 9,000 learners and £8.5m local spending every year. 484 apprentices had started their placements at the end of 2020, likely to increase productivity in the area by around £3.8m every year. By 2030 this increases to over 1,360, who will have the potential to increase productivity by £9.5m a year.
Business: Investment in business growth and expansion created increased floorspace to accommodate around 3,500 more employees in 2020. By 2030 this is set to increase to nearly 4,000. £5m of private sector funding was invested in research and development as a result of the LGF projects in 2020, and is expected to rise to £26m by 2030.
Here are just a few examples of the 55 projects funded:
People and skills: £37m – Education and training has been a key focus for the LGF fund, with SEMLEP investing in the construction of Moulton College’s Food and Drink Innovation Centre in Northampton, the relaunch of Tresham College’s Wellingborough campus and new MK:U pilot Degree Apprenticeship programmes being developed by Cranfield University. Other skills projects included Bedford College’s Advanced Engineering facility, a new state of the art Engineering and Construction Skills Centre in Leighton Buzzard and several projects at Northampton College – a new campus in Daventry, a new Digital Academy, and a state-of-the-art Advanced Construction Engineering (ACE) Centre at its Booth Lane Campus.
Places and regeneration: £139 million* – The Vulcan Works in Northampton town centre was a largely derelict building, now transformed into a business and learning space for creative industries. In Luton, the Hat District has also been transformed, with its three historic buildings transformed into spaces for creative and digital entrepreneurs, emerging talent and established businesses. A major road project was the dualling of the A421 between Junction 13 of the M1 and Milton Keynes.
Business innovation: £57m – In Charwelton near Daventry, Catesby Aerodynamic Research Facility is turning a former 1.7-mile railway tunnel into a fully controllable vehicle testing facility, while at Millbrook in Bedfordshire, a new 4WD heavy duty vehicle emissions facility will test buses, trucks and off-highway vehicles for emissions, fuel and lubricant performance and climatic performance. In Raunds, Northamptonshire, the new Enterprise Centre: East Northants now offers business units of all sizes to nurture start-ups and business growth. The centre opened mid-lockdown, creating more than 60 new jobs and supporting 20 new business start-ups. The centre is now an Economic Recovery Hub for North Northamptonshire Council.
I’m immensely proud of the programme. It’s taken a lot of hard work from the projects and the SEMLEP team, but I cannot put into words the pride I feel at seeing visions turn into reality. Over the coming years, I look forward to seeing these projects continue to benefit our economy, communities, places and businesses.
For a full list of SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund projects and to view the Local Growth Fund Evaluation summary and full document, visit: www.semlep.com/local-growth-fund/
*thematic analysis excludes the DfT retained M1 A6 project and therefore does not align with the 265 total