Deadline looms as council dash for cash

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

South Holland District Council is making a dash for cash after missing out on a massive £67.5million investment in Lincolnshire.

Phases two and three of the multi-million Spalding Western Relief Road, industrial units in Crowland and business grants (Grants4Growth) are among projects it is putting forward to meet Thursday’s deadline for outline bids.

Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) announced in July it had secured £40million from the Government’s Growth Deal for 2015-16 and a further £27.5million for 2016-2017.

None of that cash was earmarked for South Holland because projects were only chosen if they could be delivered in 2015-16.

The LEP said a South Holland contender – a rail freight hub at Deeping St Nicholas – “was not suitably advanced to deliver in 2015-2016”.

Council deputy leader Nick Worth said: “I am very hopeful we will get some money from it this time round.

“Part of what the LEP does is to try to share the funding around the county – it needs to benefit the whole county, not just sections of it.”

Only two projects going forward for the Government’s Growth Deal and the European Regional Development Fund are council-led.

These are industrial units at Crease Drove, Crowland, currently valued at £2million with a £1.6million shortfall for which grant aid is needed, and Grants4Growth – the project value of £12.9million for the whole LEP area includes private match-funding of £8.4million.

Partner-led projects are:

l The Western Relief Road with an estimated value of £95.5million for phases two and three

l The rail freight hub with an estimated value of £27.5million

l A roundabout at Peppermint Junction likely to cost £1million-plus

l Investment at the University of Lincoln Holbeach campus to develop links with other agri-food specialists

Coun Worth said phase one of the Western Relief Road has been “forward funded” by the county council, to be repaid by the Holland Park developer.

Council cabinet members last week described the road as a priority with more trains likely to come through Spalding, cutting the town in half.

Council leader Gary Porter said: “If they do bring the trains through, we are going to need the bridges over the railway line and the only way we are going to get those bridges is off the relief road.”

Bids are going in early because it’s feared the cash pot could disappear if the Tories lose the general election.

l The district council was awarded £1million for Grants4Growth nine months ago and it has offered 42 grants totalling £450,000 to businesses.

Among them was Fusion Aluminium Welding at Cowbit. The firm received £1,250 to buy manually operated equipment to save cash on electricity bills.

Coun Worth said: “We’ve helped many county businesses increase their resilience in today’s competitive market by awarding grants. These grants can be used towards the purchase and installation of efficient new processes, production facilities and clean tech efficiency equipment.”

Grants4Growth has so far created ten jobs.