Wednesday, September 7, 2016

News: "Quick wins" needed for SCR investment fund

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The Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority is looking to bring forward new regeneration schemes that are quickly deliverable.

New projects are being sought through the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund (SCRIF), which matches EU funds to other funds and private sector investment in order to deliver infrastructure solutions. It has been used for projects such as Superfast South Yorkshire, the BRT North scheme and infrastructure works at the Olympic Legacy Park.

A projected slippage in the 16/17 programme has presented an opportunity for schemes that can deliver quickly to be brought forward into the programme, including priorities such as the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) in Sheffield and Rotherham and projects in town centres.

With the relative freedom through the devolution deal with the Government and a move to a single pot of money, the authority has identified considerable potential to broaden the programme of activity, for example to include direct investment in housing schemes and research and development focused capital projects.

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A paper to the meeting of the combined authority explains: "At this stage all projects / schemes are potentially in scope for consideration as part of this early commission.

"Fundamentally SCR is looking for deliverable projects which contribute to the delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan and can spend in year. Any prioritisation will take in to consideration the priorities for this early commission, as agreed by the Combine Aothority. Namely the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), the Doncaster Sheffield Airport and housing schemes; as well as projects in support of town and city centres and maximising the benefits of HS2 to the city region."

The focus needs to be on additionality and activity which would not otherwise happen without support from this source. Projects will have to nominate a lead local authority partner who will be required to lead the bid and have responsibility for all contractual and financial issues.

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has recently submitted a competitive bid to secure funding from the latest round of the Government's £1.8 billion Local Growth Fund. £107m would be invested in local infrastructure in the priority areas of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) and Doncaster Sheffield Airport. This investment will unlock 12,500 jobs, 6,600 home, £220n of private sector investment and an economic boost of £2.7 billion.

Proposals have also been approved for the balance of around £5m growth funding to be advanced as a repayable loan to the JESSICA investment fund to support prospective projects. The financial engineering mechanism is used to create a revolving fund used for regeneration projects such as the creation of new commercial floorspace, brownfield redevelopment or investment in infrastructure.

Sheffield City Region LEP website

Images: Harworth Estates


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