Thursday, January 19, 2023

Leveling up: The West Country’s winners and losers after the funding announcement

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More than 100 projects have been awarded a £2.1 billion share to create jobs and boost the economy.

However, places like West Somerset, Bath, Stroud and North Devon have missed out on their investment offerings.

£672m will be used to develop better transport links, £821m for community revitalization and £594m for the restoration of local heritage sites.

Where is the money going?

Cornwall

A grant of £50m will help create a new direct train service linking four of Cornwall’s main urban areas: Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth/Penryn.

The aim is to improve access to jobs, skills, education and amenities in one of the UK’s most economically disadvantaged areas.

Great Western Railway’s Matt Barnes says although the trains are already available, the investment is intended to improve infrastructure.

“Yes, they are using them at the moment, but that will create a lot more travel opportunities. Through trains are always much easier to use.

“A journey from Newquay to Falmouth that requires two connections today will require just one in the future, and it’s not just about Mid-Cornwall itself, it’s about the ability to access the wider world via our rail services.”

Cornish Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Conchie says the news will really boost business morale in the duchy.

He said: “The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce is working closely with Wildanet, which has received £36million to connect thousands of rural premises.

“This is exactly the kind of investment we need to connect Cornwall to the rest of the world and increase our productivity. It’s great that a local company will lead the project.

“The Newquay to Falmouth rail link will be a major asset for Cornwall and will open up opportunities for Cornish residents to find jobs in areas previously on lockdown.

“In the high season it will improve the visitor experience and hopefully reduce traffic on our roads.”

The response from people Latest Page News West Country spoke to about the funding has been mostly positive, although some believe the money could be spent “in a better way”.

North Somerset

20 million pounds is awarded to North Somerset to help transform Weston-super-Mare.

20 million pounds is used to convert a former hospital in Bridgewater into a training center for health workers.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “What a great day for Bridgwater.

“After 11 deals related to the £23m Bridgewater-Town deal were approved by the Government, we are delighted to hear that a further £20m is flowing into the city.”

Bristol

£14.5 million invested in a project to provide new quality residential, community and commercial space at Filwood Broadway and the community center and outdoor recreation areas.

devonian

Almost £16million for projects to lengthen the Dinan Way and improve the Exmouth Gateway transport hub, and provide better cycle and footpaths to reduce congestion and shorten travel times.

£15.6 million for the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Center in North Devon, which will research green technologies and work with local universities and private companies to invest and create almost 100 high quality jobs directly.

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