GFirst LEP confirms funding on four major county projects

CGI of Gloucester Railway Station

Nearly £10 million of Growth Deal funding has been awarded to four major projects across the county by GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership.

A ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event for nine potential projects took place in January 2018 to members of the GFirst LEP Board. The full Board met on Tuesday 20th February to make their final decision.

Gloucester Railway Station will receive £3.75million to redevelop the underpass that links Great Western Road (where Gloucester Royal Hospital is based) to Gloucester City centre. The project will transform connectivity between the fast developing housing and employment areas and the city centre.

Speaking about the project Richard Graham MP for Gloucester said: “This funding is a great result for a good cause. Gloucester Royal Hospital staff will be delighted when the infamous underpass is sorted and drivers will appreciate a new car park exit onto Metz Way and less traffic. Overall, it will create a better station, transport hub, cycle and pedestrian routes to the city centre and a better link to our Hospital.

Cllr Paul James, Leader of Gloucester City Council added: “The announcement is another statement of confidence in Gloucester’s future and the ability of the City Council to deliver significant regeneration schemes. Working with GWR, Network Rail and Gloucestershire County Council, the investment at the Railway Station will not only create a much better environment for passengers but will also provide a safer, more attractive access and improve the connectivity of the city.”

Hartpury College will receive £1million towards a ‘Tech to Plate’ concept. The programme consists of an Agri Tech Centre aimed at using applied technology in livestock production to maximise productivity and quality through the application of precision farming techniques – ‘smart farming techniques’. In effect, using technology to improve productivity whilst also measuring impacts all the way to the consumer’s plate. The ‘Tech to Plate’ concept is complementary to the Farm 491 project that previously received Growth Deal funding. Russell Marchant, Principal of Hartpury College said: “The future of farm productivity will rely increasingly on the application of technology to improve productivity.  This is hopefully just the start of Gloucestershire playing a leading role in Agri Tech innovation at RAU and application here at Hartpury.

Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton will receive £1.885million to create new access from the B4063. This project will deliver new employment land leading to the creation of 85 new jobs. Mark Ryan Managing Director of Gloucestershire Airport said: “This supports the GFirst LEP Strategic Economic Plan by maximising the airport’s contribution to the local economy through direct and indirect employment, along with growing an important cluster of aviation related and other economic activity in Gloucestershire.”

Merrywalks Shopping Centre in Stroud  has been awarded £3million, as part of a substantial investment in Stroud Merrywalks Shopping Centre and Carpark. This will have a transformational effect on Stroud Town Centre. The main aim of this regeneration project is to ensure the continued success of Stroud Town Centre and to encourage residents to shop local. Managing Director of Dransfield Properties, Mark Dransfield, said: “Our company has worked in market towns to deliver successful and sustainable developments for more than 25 years and we are looking forward to having the opportunity to work with GFirst LEP, the local authority and other stakeholders on a major transformation of The Merrywalks Centre in Stroud. This kind of partnership approach is vital to bringing forward real and sustainable change and we are extremely heartened by the positive response we have received.

He added: “Our plans are at an early stage but we are excited at the prospect of working together in this beautiful market town to create a well linked and attractive centre and bring a new retail offer to the town.”