Harris Lamb Blog – 26th Jan
26th January, 2011.
What will a LEP deliver to North Staffordshire?
By Andrew Groves, Associate Director, Commercial Agency
The question begs a few more questions:
What is a LEP? Where are they found? What will they do?
Firstly, what is a LEP? It is a Local Enterprise Partnership. Is a LEP exclusive to North Staffordshire? No. They are being set up across England. What will LEP’s do? They will oversee applications to the ‘Regional Growth Fund’ for monies to help promote local economic development.
Essentially LEP’s are being established in the wake created by the abolition of the Regional Development Agencies (AWM, SWERDA, NWDA etc). As part of the Coalition government’s agenda for localism the LEP’s are intended to give networks of local businesses and local governments a framework to help deliver strategic local projects.
LEP’s are relevant to us at Harris Lamb as we hope they will be providing the assistance that we sometimes need in helping clients bring forward redevelopment and new build projects when it is apparent third party assistance will ‘make things happen’.
The Stoke & Staffs LEP have ‘thrown their weight behind’ seven commercial projects with a total value of £30m. The seven projects include the City Centre (Hanley) retail centerpiece of the “East West Centre Redevelopment” a major shopping and leisure development seen as key to lifting the retail destination experience of the City Centre. There is also the 1st phase mixed use development in Stoke on Trent City Centre in the Central Business District. Of the other five projects this includes the creation of a Centre of Refurbishment Excellence as a national facility and expanding the Innovation Centre at Keele University.
The Stoke on Trent and Staffs LEP Chairman Jim Richard is saying there are many more projects they will consider for support in the future but that for now, they must be focusing on projects that have the chance of funding.
Creating and safeguarding jobs in the local area is the key line that the LEP talk about.
The LEP has the potential to build on some of the successes already promoted and supported by AWM – notably the expansion of Keele’s Innovation Centre but also continuing the work done by the RDA in the City Centre as well.
The key to delivery on these projects is not least to secure the funding necessary in the first place but also to ensure there is the expertise to bring projects to fruition and deliver on their undoubted potential.
Harris Lamb hope to be working alongside not only the Stoke & Staffs LEP to give development and hopefully planning and agency advice but other LEP’s across the heart of the country. As emerging local business supporters, LEP’s look likely to be part of the regeneration scene for some years to come.
Andrew can be reached on 01782 272 555 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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