On Monday, the Government and LEP announced the first D2N2 Growth Deal, which marks a huge step forward in devolved funding
Government expects LEPs “to demonstrate that they are committed to the growth agenda by developing multi-year strategic economic plans and to prioritise economic development and work collaboratively across the LEP area” and our Growth Deal is underpinned by the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan, published at the beginning of April, which sets a road-map for economic growth for the next ten years.
The Growth Deal starts that journey prioritising genuinely strategic transformational projects. There will be a university presence in Chesterfield and Mansfield and the Nottingham Skills Hub will not only transform skills delivery across the city but the development will transform the whole regeneration of the Southern Gateway to Nottingham and reinforce the redevelopment of Broadmarsh and funding for Nottingham Castle.
Derby projects too reinforce its UK Capital for Innovation strategy with confirmed funding for the A52, Infinity Park and the “Our City, Our River” programme.
The Newark southern relief road is long overdue, and that, together with funding for Chesterfield A61, Harworth Bircotes and Hucknall provide recognition of the importance of enabling infrastructure to support key economic development sites.
However, we will need to work hard to secure vital infrastructure for the A46 Growth Corridor, the Sherwood Growth Corridor outside Mansfield and key developments particularly in South Derbyshire although the Growth Deal also provides a major contribution to supporting sustainable travel realising Nottingham’s vision as a cycling city and major sustainable travel infrastructure in Derby and Derbyshire.
In addition, the commitment to Superfast Broadband roll out and a D2N2 Growth Hub, to join up business support across the D2N2 area, are important factors in delivering sustainable economic growth.
Its difficult to compare Growth Deals as they all seem to have slightly different rationale in the way they have been calculated. You also need to recognise that overlap with Sheffield. It is clear however that D2N2 offers great value for money – 3rd amongst – 39 LEPs and we have to improve Governance – 3rd category of 4. We received the 13th highest funding nationally but yet will deliver the 3rd highest number of jobs and the 6th highest number of homes.
Over the coming months, we expect to further negotiate the additional key freedoms and flexibilities we are seeking to help embed particularly our skills and Enterprise Zone programmes and also encourage Government to devolve further funding to local areas.