Solar energy, Oxfordshire town centres & green construction skills to share £8.4 million gov boost

Photo shows: Westmill Solar Farm
Westmill Solar Farm

Oxfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership is celebrating securing £8.4 million from the government’s Getting Building Fund for a wide-ranging package of projects that will deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy, including creating 470 construction jobs and safeguarding a further 320.

Oxfordshire’s funded projects will create and safeguard jobs, open new spaces for innovation and provide training programmes offering low carbon construction skills.

Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “Working with our business community and our local authority partners, we are delighted to secure funding for the county and be able to support such a diverse range of programmes and projects.

“We believe this financial support will not only accelerate our businesses’ ability to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19, but also bring real benefits to our wider communities too – including greater access to reliable broadband and investing in the right skills development programmes for our young people to enjoy careers in emerging, zero-carbon focused sectors.

“The investment secured through the Getting Building Fund can also support the UK’s wider economic recovery ambitions too. As a county, we are home to some of the world’s most-innovative companies, respected academics and passionate entrepreneurs – with this in mind, and working alongside our key partners, we will continue to highlight the economic strengths we have here in Oxfordshire.”

The successful projects are:

The Energy Systems Accelerator Pilot. A co-working space to support UK innovation in net zero carbon systems. This pilot will inform final design and operational practices of the full Energy Systems Accelerator project.

  • Economic Renewal Capital Fund. A grant fund to support scalable SME businesses by co-investing grants of up to £50,000 for capital projects that will support Oxfordshire’s renewal.
  • Oxfordshire Town Centres Renaissance Programme. A programme to tackle the projected increase in vacant units in Oxford City centre and Oxfordshire’s market towns. Vacant units will be transformed into spaces for a diverse range of uses.
  • Digital Investment Plan – Rural Gigabit Voucher Programme A Gigabit Voucher Scheme for building gigabit capable residential broadband infrastructure in predominantly rural areas.
  • Westmill Energy Visitors’ Centre. A new visitor centre for the Westmill Energy Organisations – a community-owned renewable energy project and the only combined wind/solar site in the south of England. Westmill Co-op was established in 2004 to build and operate a community-owned wind farm at Westmill Farm in Oxfordshire.
  • Clinical BioManufacturing Hub. Enabling works to expand the Clinical Bio-Manufacturing Hub. This expanded facility will support SMEs to undertake clinical trials of new biological medicinal projects.
  • Green Construction Skills Centre. This centre will help meet the forecast demand for green construction skills by offering a variety of training programmes including areas such as low or zero carbon new build and retrofit construction.