Introduction - HotSW LEP Chief Executive, Chris Garcia
Welcome to our March newsletter, where you’ll find out about the latest developments in the HotSW LEP.
As we approach the election we’ll continue reporting on “business as usual” and about progress on current activities, as part of our commitment to keep partners informed.
This past month has seen a lot of activity on the calls for proposals front, with the ESIF programme finally being announced plus calls arising from the Growth Deal in respect of training related to Hinkley C and from DEFRA on the Rural Development Programme.
Other exciting news was the designation of South Yard as an Enterprise Zone & in the last week the signing of the transfer of land for South Yard from the MoD to Plymouth City Council to open up this valuable deep water site for development. We have had a number of ministers and senior civil servants visiting the site in the last month and all have been very impressed with the potential. We are in a good position to put forward strong business cases for further attention and investment from Whitehall post-election.
I was at the LEP Annual Conference last Thursday, where Lord Heseltine said that LEPs are a great success and had come a long way but still had a lot more to do to make their collective voice heard and mobilise the “missing army” of the business community. Here in HotSW we work quite closely with business and many of the business representation groups are on our Leadership groups - but there is always more we can do to engage, so please continue to get in touch and share your needs and expertise.
I was also last week at the opening of the new Enterprise Centre at Highbridge, which is the latest delivery of new employment space supported through the LEP’s Rural Growth network programme.
In this newsletter we’ve also got the latest news about the new national nuclear college to be based in our area, and some welcome news that First Great Western is planning further investment as part of their new franchise that will benefit our connectivity and increase productivity for the HotSW area. Another step in the right direction of creating improved conditions for growth.