Friday, November 24, 2017

News: Cash boost for capital projects

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Further transport and infrastructure projects with a quick turnaround are being sought to ensure that the Sheffield city region spends all of its growth funding.

An open call has gone out for bids to fund projects that can fully commit the SCR resources within the next 18 months.

Funding for these schemes will come from the £650m Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund (SCRIF). This fund includes Local Growth Fund (LGF) resources, which is part of the Government's continued investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

SCRIF has been used to fund projects such as the new link road to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Superfast South Yorkshire, BRT and the link road at Tinsley, and improvements to the A618 and access to Gulliver's site at Rother Valley. £45m has been set aside for the A630 Parkway between Catcliffe and the M1 Junction 33.

Successful projects will be placed on the Reserve Capital list and priority will be given to schemes that can commit funding by the end of March 2019. The deadline for applications is the December 8.

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has recently closed a call for its Housing Fund, an £8m pilot project aimed at funding ideas for delivering new homes to get them underway by the end of this year.

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Nigel Brewster, vice chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: "As our major capital investment fund, SCRIF invests in schemes across the whole city region and enables the city region to effectively leverage private and public sector investment, as we build a truly competitive centre of business excellence.

"The current SCRIF programme is made up of 30 major schemes, spread across the varied geography of the city region, including projects as varied as the Great Yorkshire Way, the new iPort facility and the innovative Grey to Green public realm project in Sheffield city centre.

"I hope that partners across the region will take advantage of this opportunity and put their bids forward before the closing date early next month."

The aim of this call for bids is to build a reserve pipeline of exciting capital projects which can be funded as and when budgets allow, and also to ensure that the city region is ready to respond effectively to national funding calls as they become available, thereby increasing chances of success.

The recent Budget indicates that the SCR will need to bid for a part of the Government's Transforming Cities Fund.

Furthermore, the scheme will provide development partners with a route for their proposals to be assessed and developed without having to delay until formal budgets are announced, as well as ensuring funding allocations already secured by the city region are fully utilised.

The LEP board heard recently that spending on its £85.8m LGF programme had slipped this year, with an estimated underspend of £23.63m, putting at risk £34.29m of available funds in future years. Directors have been assessing the schemes which should lead to further monitoring to ensure progress.

Projects are also at risk of losing LGF money if they cannot progress as originally planned. The £15m DN7 Hatfield link project and £18m+ project to dual the A630 West Moor Link between M18 Junction 4 to A18 Thorne Road have been given a "red" rating by officers.

Images: SCR LEP

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