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December 2016

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is a strong and dynamic partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and further education across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay with the purpose of leading and influence economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West.

About the Newsletter
Produced monthly, this newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.

Chris Garcia, Chief Executive 

2016 has been quite a year!

For the LEP, the country and indeed the international landscape – a lot has changed since this time last year.

There are benefits of being a small, nimble organisation, and that’s the ability to adapt to change. So we’ve been quick off the mark to make the new cabinet ministers aware of our transformational growth plans after the summer re-shuffle and support the setting up of a Brexit resilience & opportunities group almost immediately after the UK opted to leave the EU.

We’re pleased at the Government’s continued confidence in us to raise productivity by creating the conditions for growth and building on our distinctive assets. We’ve recently held a very productive meeting with MPs at Westminster to consult on our Productivity Plan, which will be progressing in the new year for delivering in line with the Government’s new Industrial Strategy. We’re also in the process of consulting our Stakeholders and local businesses on the shape of this new Plan and how it can complement and maximise on the opportunities presented by the Government’s strategies. This is a real example of how we are working both top-down and bottom-up to ensure that the best strategies for growth are put in place at a local level.
You may have seen that LEPs in general have been getting a lot of coverage in the media, questioning their value and their governance. Well, I can assure you, that HotSW LEP is confident in its transparency and quite proud of our achievements which generate momentum year on year. We’ve published a more detailed explanation of how we work on our website here, and to remind partners of what can be achieved with so small a team but so large a partnership, this month there’s a round-up of what has been happening on the ground in our Growth Deal projects, and I will take this opportunity to highlight some of the other achievements we’ve accomplished over the last 12 months.
  • We have increasingly worked more closely with our neighbouring LEPs on shared issues/opportunities to achieve strategic impact, forming alliances in relation to opportunities in nuclear, aerospace, marine and transport.
  • We are now managing a £500m investment portfolio which covers projects which all help strengthen the foundations for economic growth, and we’re expecting a further injection into this funding early next year.
  • We’ve secured our ESIF confirmation of €137,184,144 (£107,405,266) , and established a series of events to help applicants make successful bids. More about this below.
  • We’ve established our Growth Hub, which since starting up in March has helped 1368  businesses start up, develop or grow, and all 78,000 businesses across the area can now access free, impartial business advice and signposting to relevant business support services.
  • A Final Investment Decision was reached on Hinkley Point C, enabling Europe’s largest project to go ahead in our area.
  • The recent pilot for a Science and Innovation Audit identified this area as having global strengths and opportunities that will have an impact on the national economy.
  • We continue to work with partners on the Local Authority led Devolution process to deliver the best deal possible for the area.
We’ve a lot to look forward to in 2017 to build on our successes of this year, which are in no small part due to the continued passion and expertise of the stakeholders in the HotSW area that make up this very special partnership. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

2016 - A Year of Growth Deal Mobilisation

Growth Deals provide funds to LEPs for projects that benefit the local area and economy. The first wave was announced in 2014.

So far HotSW LEP has been allocated £195.50m from government in the first two rounds of the Growth Deal, which is expected to deliver 22,000 jobs, 11,000 homes and £260m public and private sector investment, and an announcement on the third round is expected in the New Year.

Projects in the HotSW Growth Deal bids are selected in a transparent process guided by the Strategic Economic Plan, according to those which combined will most benefit the LEP-wide area.
This year’s Growth Deal bid proposed a portfolio of projects selected across three delivery themes: Strategic connectivity & sustainable transport, unlocking & enabling growth potential and productivity growth through science and innovation.

Many of the projects from the first round of the Growth Deal started on site this year, with some of them already completed. Here’s a round-up of some of the progress made in 2016 on Growth Deal mobilisation:

Completed projects:

At Exeter Science Park, site infrastructure on phase 2 started in May 2015 and was completed March this year; paving the way for the Global Environmental Futures Campus and facilitating the Met Office’s new £100m supercomputer. The success of the Innovation Centre which this scheme enabled is evident by its popularity as a place to invest by companies relocating from outside of the area. It’s currently 75% occupied, by targeted knowledge/innovation/science focussed companies that support growth in this sector.

The Somerset Energy Innovation Centre extension started in September 2015 and was completed in June this year. It provides flexible space for growth businesses in the Hinkley Point C supply chain.  

Huntworth Roundabout is also complete. A key connection in Bridgwater’s highway network to the M5, the scheme unlocks 973 dwellings and 1,700 jobs; and its wider contribution to the surrounding area (due to the development of nearby business parks and Hinkley Point C) is in the region of 4,418 dwellings, 5,515 jobs and 16,000sqm retail space.

Here is a selection of Growth Deal projects that are currently underway:

Torquay Gateway started on site in January and due for completion in June 2018; generating 720 new jobs and 743 new homes by opening up key employment and housing sites. It capitalises on the new South Devon Highway by reducing journey times and increasing reliability, thereby increasing business confidence in this area of Torbay.

February was a busy month for Growth Deal projects starting on site, including:

Torquay Town Centre Access improvements: to provide more direct vehicle access into Torquay Town Centre and improve public transport. This scheme is due for completion in March next year.

The widening of Bridge Road in Exeter is due for completion in March 2018. It will develop two continuous outbound lanes from Countess Wear to the Matford roundabout, on one of the busiest routes into the city.

Work on the £13million state-of-the-art facility - the Plymouth College STEM Centre - is due to be completed in autumn 2017. The five-story building is starting to rise upwards with formwork and reinforcement for the third floor in place, and a foundation stone laying event was held in October marking a significant milestone in construction. Addressing the skills gap and enabling sustainable employment, it is Plymouth’s new Regional Centre of Excellence for science, technology, engineering and maths.

Roundswell Phase 2 in Barnstaple will support growth by improving the efficiency of the strategic A39/A361 corridor. It reduces congestion by providing a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the A39 at Roundswell linking employment and residential areas.
Derriford Hospital Interchange is due for completion next spring. It’s part of the ‘Derriford jigsaw’, which along with the Derriford Transport Scheme, is essential to enable the increase of 9,000 jobs and 2,950 new homes planned for the north of Plymouth in the next 15 years.

Moving onto March, this month saw the start on site of the Derriford Transport Scheme, with practical completion expected next autumn. This is also part of the strategic package of investments in infrastructure to unlock sustainable growth in Plymouth. It will reduce congestion and improve walking and cycling facilities, supporting 2250 jobs, 750 houses and 35,500sqm commercial floor space by 2021.

Deep Lane at Sherford also started on site in March with practical completion expected in March 2019 subject to planning conditions. It will serve the new community at Sherford, supporting 220 jobs and 700 houses by 2021.

The A361 Portmore to Landkey Stage 1 started in the spring to enable the proposed housing and employment development in the North Devon and Torridge area, generating 500 jobs and 250 houses by 2021. Completion is expected in March 2018 subject to planning conditions.

The Somerset Levels River Widening project started on site in July and is due for completion in March 2018. It’s part of the Somerset Levels and Moors 20 Year Flood Action Plan and consists of a package of measures to reduce the duration, depth and frequency of flooding to safeguard homes, infrastructure and businesses.

Plymouth Science Park’s landmark £7million building, 1 Research Way, held a topping out ceremony in August and already has London-based firms moving in. Work started on the three-storey block, the largest on the PSP site, in December 2015. The new building forms the entrance to Plymouth Science Park - a 25-acre campus which is home to innovative technology, digital, creative, marine and science-based businesses with 180,000sq ft. of space - located on 25 acres of wooded land behind the West Country’s biggest hospital, Derriford.

The £2.5 million upgrade to the A379 junction at Newcourt started on site in October and will create a signalised junction which will improve access to proposed employment and housing development in the area of the city near Sandy Park.

As the year came to a close, work on all these projects gathered momentum and a major milestone for Bridgwater College Hinkley Skills Capital was marked. Bridgwater College is home to the National College for Nuclear, and work started on site this month with a ground-breaking ceremony. The new college will welcome students from late 2017, focusing on degree apprenticeship programmes designed to deliver highly skilled technicians required for the growing nuclear sector in the HotSW area and globally.

Looking forward to 2017, work is due to start at the end of January on a major highways widening scheme on Kings Ash Road in Paignton as part of the Western Corridor scheme. It will boost the economic development of Torbay by improving access to existing and planned sites for employment and housing, which aim to create over 1700 new jobs and over 1600 additional dwellings by 2021.
On the Growth Deal 2 projects, business cases and funding agreements are progressing well so that these projects can start in the coming year according to the programme.

The award of the Growth Deal 3 bid is expected to be made in early January, enabling the LEP to deliver more transformational projects across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay to improve productivity and prosperity for residents and businesses.

New ERDF funding opportunities now live!

Five new ERDF funding opportunities for the Heart of the South West have recently been launched:
  • A £2.8 million ERDF call for activity to further innovation in the aerospace sector in the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset only;
  • A £0.5 million ERDF call for activity which builds the innovation capacity of SMES by linking students and graduate to industry in the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only;
  • A £1.5 million ERDF call (£1 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £0.5 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for activity to support SMEs to take advantage of digital technologies to drive business transformation and growth;
  • A £2.95 million ERDF call (£2.25 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £0.7 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for provision of investor readiness support to help SMEs access the finance they require to grow; and
  • A £5 million ERDF call (£2.5 million for the ‘transition’ area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £2.5 million for the ‘more developed’ area of Somerset) for activity to support the shift to a low carbon economy.
Further details of these funding opportunities, including deadlines for outline applications, can be found at 

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership held an ERDF Info Event on 7 December to provide advance notice of these funding opportunities and details of how to apply for ERDF. Materials from the event, which was part-funded by ERDF, are available in the ERDF Info Events section of our ESIF webpage


We are working closely with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on future European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding opportunities. Upcoming calls for proposals are expected to include:
  • Business development – Capital grants to enable the creation or expansion of micro and small businesses in rural areas;
  • Food processing – Capital grants to enable the creation or expansion of food and drink processing businesses; and
  • Tourism infrastructure – Capital investment projects that improve the local rural tourism offer by delivering new or enhanced rural tourism assets and infrastructure.
We will provide further information on forward EAFRD arrangements in this newsletter and on our website as details become available.

Successful business project to reach more schools in Devon, Somerset, Torbay and Plymouth

More schools in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay are set to benefit from a successful business project, after receiving additional funding.

The Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN), which matches schools with businesses and aims to improve careers provision for young people, is currently taking place in 36 schools in the Heart of the South West area.

More businesses are also being encouraged to get involved, as a new set of volunteer Enterprise Advisers is needed for the additional schools.

The additional funding will allow the project to roll out to a further 27 schools – this will mean that 60% of schools in the area will have a volunteer business mentor, known as an Enterprise Adviser. Six special schools have also been invited to take part.

Funding for the project was secured by HotSW LEP, in conjunction with the four upper tier local authorities. The Enterprise Adviser Network encourages employers and schools to work together to support young people in making informed choices about their future careers.

CSW Group is contracted to provide the service, which is being funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Development Agency.

To find out more visit

Innovate UK

Deadline for applications to Innovate UK’s £15m funding competition: open programme round 2 (2016) is midday 1st February.

This call is for UK businesses to apply for a share of up to £15 million to deliver transformational innovations with potential for impact on the UK economy. Businesses of any size can apply.

LEADER funding is available to boost rural employment and growth in Devon and Somerset

Rural businesses and organisations across Devon and Somerset are being encouraged to apply for European grants designed to boost rural employment.

The LEADER scheme is one element of the Rural Development Programme for England, funded by the EU and Defra. There is in the region of £12 million of funding available for projects that meet the eligibility criteria throughout most of rural Devon and Somerset.

More information on LEADER funding is available here:

Heart of the South West ERDF Information Event - December 2016

Around 60 delegates attended the Heart of the South West ERDF Info Event in Exeter on 7 December.

The event, featuring speakers from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Communities and Local Government, provided information on expected upcoming ERDF funding opportunities in the Heart of the South West and details of how to apply. 

It was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Information on the subjects below will shortly be available on our website:
  • ERDF in the Heart of the South West - An overview of ERDF priorities and activities in the Heart of the South West, including expected upcoming funding opportunities for aerospace, linking students and graduates to industry, investor readiness support, SME digital utilisation, workspace and low carbon initiatives.
  • ERDF application processes and selection criteria – An overview of how to apply for ERDF, including selection criteria and tips for applicants.
  • ERDF and Low Carbon in the Heart of the South West – An overview of ERDF low carbon priorities and activities in the Heart of the South West, including expected upcoming funding opportunities.
  • What makes a good ERDF low carbon project? – An overview of ERDF Priority Axis 4 ‘supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy in all sectors’, including priorities, targets and ‘top tips’ for applicants.
  • Further information on ERDF- Details of where to find further information on ERDF priorities, application processes and investments to date as well as where to sign up for relevant newsletters and alerts

LEP Conversations - Opportunity to meet the Growth Hub and the LEP

We hope that you can join us for a chance to find out how the HotSW Growth Hub can help your business and find out more about the Heart of the South West LEP.

We are trialling a new approach, to give the wider business community in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay an opportunity to better engage with the HotSW LEP and this time to also meet with the Growth Hub. The first workshop took place in Somerset on in December and there is one in Devon on Thursday 19th January. If you would like to find out more about your LEP and to hear the latest from the Growth Hub about support for business, then please book your place at one of these events.

Please note that as this is a pilot, places are limited and booking is on a first come first served basis. If you don’t manage to book a place on these workshops; and in order to gauge the interest for future events, you can register on a reserve list.

Book now


Connecting Devon & Somerset announces biggest rural pure fibre broadband roll-out in UK

Homes and businesses across the HotSW area will benefit from some of the highest speeds in the country.
Connecting Devon & Somerset (CDS), the largest superfast broadband programme in the UK, signed new contracts this week with Ultrafast broadband provider, Gigaclear, to deliver a £61.2m million network to an additional 35,225 of the hardest to reach homes and businesses in the region by 2019.
The new contracts constitute the largest fibre direct to the premise programme in the UK and mean that homes and businesses will be able to access speeds of up to 1gbps.

Rural business owners could transform the way they work with faster broadband enabling them to increase business and cut costs without compromising on their location.

The LEP has allocated £4.2m Growing Places Funding and £2.5m from its Growth Deal 1 Funding to the project.

Chair, Steve Hindley, said: “Connectivity is a major barrier to productivity growth in the Heart of the South West, which covers Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, so the LEP is committed to improving road, rail and broadband through our Growth Deal funding and our strategic influence on central government.”

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