A £28.1m investment aimed at improving skills, jobs, homes and business opportunities across Swindon and Wiltshire is due to be announced today (Thursday, 23 February) by Communities and Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid.
The cash boost has been secured by Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership after a tough bidding process and will fund the following major projects in the area:
- The construction of Life Sciences, Engineering and Higher Education facilities at Wiltshire College, Salisbury
- A new Agricultural Technology Centre at Wiltshire College, Lackham
- Redevelopment of the Central Car Park and Maltings area of Salisbury
The investment comes from the government’s third round of Local Growth Deal allocations to Local Enterprise Partnerships. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said “We’re determined to see Swindon and Wiltshire thrive, and this latest funding of over £28 million will help create jobs, support business and develop higher level skills across the region. The area is already benefitting from improved infrastructure and new jobs through £141 million we’ve invested so far, this extra support will build on this to give a boost to the local economy.”
Bids into the scheme are highly competitive and to be successful, Local Enterprise Partnerships need to work with partners to agree strong and accountable governance and put forward proposals that boost growth and bring in private sector funding.
John Mortimer, Chairman of the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP, said “the additional funding will provide a major boost to the area’s growing economy – paving the way for nearly 1500 new jobs, 200 new homes and opportunities for almost 4,000 new students.
Our Strategic Economic Plan clearly identifies investment in skills as a fundamental pillar of local economic growth – so achieving such a major investment in our colleges at Salisbury and Lackham is a significant step towards achieving that vital objective.
Similarly the Central Car Park and Maltings regeneration will help improve Salisbury’s city centre, making the city resilient and competitive both regionally and nationally and we will be working with the government to explore further investment opportunities in Swindon,” he said.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “I am delighted Wiltshire has secured this major investment into its colleges. The funding will further enhance the offer to Wiltshire’s students and will help to ensure they will have the opportunity to gain the necessary skills and experience needed to make a positive contribution to Wiltshire’s economy.
“It is also good news that vital funding to regenerate the Maltings and Central Car Park site in the heart of Salisbury has also been secured. The redevelopment of this area will create more than 500 jobs and will be key to protecting and strengthening the economy of Salisbury. It will help the city to reinforce its position as a regionally important shopping and visitor destination and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver this exciting scheme.”
The Maltings and Central Car Park Regeneration project will redevelop the site for retail, leisure and residential use, making Salisbury City Centre more attractive for residents and visitors. Salisbury MP, John Glen said: “I am delighted that Salisbury has two out of the top three funding priorities of the Local Enterprise Partnership in the county. Securing this funding, after numerous conversations with ministers over many months, is a key boost to south Wiltshire’s economy and skills agenda. The plans for Wiltshire College will be instrumental in continuing the important task of improving Salisbury’s education offer to meet the demands of local employers, while the Maltings redevelopment is a major opportunity for the people of Salisbury to have input into a significant city centre development. Both projects will impact directly and positively on quality of life, leisure and job opportunities for the people of Salisbury – and I could not be more pleased.”
Chippenham MP, Michelle Donelan whose constituency includes the Wiltshire College, Lackham campus said: “I have been meeting regularly with Wiltshire College and supporting them in their bid for further Government funding to enhance the provision of education and training at Lackham. I am therefore, delighted that Wiltshire College Lackham will receive funding to modernise its infrastructure through the Local Growth Fund secured by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. The refurbishment of the college will enable our young people to learn about land-based industries and technologies in world-class conditions leading to apprenticeships, higher skills training and job opportunities. The development of the Lackham campus is great news for the college staff and students and I congratulate them on this achievement. I also assure them of my continued efforts to promote learning and self-development among our young people so that together we can make a real difference to the future growth of our area.”
Wiltshire College Chair of Governors Helen Birchenough said “Wiltshire College is delighted to have been prioritised by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, to receive funding for the development of its Salisbury and Lackham campuses. Local Growth Fund support is critical to ensure Wiltshire’s campuses are comparable with other further education institutions and skills providers across the country. The new developments will provide students with world-class environments and enable greater involvement and engagement with local employers. Without the Local Growth Fund, it would have been impossible to support such a scale of transformation within Wiltshire College. This is great news for skills and for the economy in Wiltshire.”
The Communities Secretary will be making the announcement on LGF 3 from the newly constructed Wiltshire College Chippenham campus, where he will also interact with students and meet with senior management.
Pictured above: Artist impression- Lackham campus