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£130m investment to boost Dyson HQ expansion and Chippenham transport links
Updated 11:15am Monday 7th July 2014 in News
A £130 million investment in Wiltshire for infrastructure and economic growth projects, including improving access to the Dyson HQ in Malmesbury and on redeveloping Chippenham railway station, has been annnounced.
The Government's Growth Deal money will be used on a variety of projects.
Dyson is already planning a £250m expansion of its research and development laboratories in Malmesbury, which could create 3,000 jobs, and improving the A429 will improve improve traffic flow to its headquarters.
At Chippenham the railway station will be redeveloped with extra parking and the A350 Chippenham Bypass will become dual carriageway from Badger Roundabout to the Chequers Junction.
Also included is a £23m venture to build a tunnel under the M4 at Swindon to link up the new Wichelstowe housing project and the development of infrastructure linked to the Eastern Villages.
The Government says it expects a £6bn investment nationwide to lead to work on more than 150 roads, 150 housing developments and 20 rail stations, as well as kick-starting super-fast broadband networks.
Earlier this year the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, a group of local authorities and private business, bid for a portion of Government funding.
Today it was announced that in the early stages much of the money is to carry out feasibility studies with an initial £12.8 million to be spent in the first year.
However, Wiltshire Council chiefs have cautioned that a new government could potentially withdraw funding after the general election next May but have said all parties are committed to LEPs.
It is claimed that locally the Growth Deal with the Government will help create up to 1,500 jobs, allow up to 2,000 homes to be built and generate up to £70m in public and private investment.
Key features are:
• Chippenham station hub - Redevelopment of Chippenham station including enhanced parking, shops and a new railway crossing.
• A350 Dualling Chippenham Bypass – Making the section of the A350 north of Chippenham from Badger Roundabout to Chequers Junction into a dual carriageway.
• Additional funding on top of Local Growth Fund of £0.25 million to strengthen the Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub, to coordinate and deliver an effective business support offer to Swindon and Wiltshire’s businesses.
• The Government will also increase the Housing Revenue Account borrowing limit for Wiltshire Council by £2.7m to help support the development of new affordable homes.
• A package of road schemes to support the Eastern Villages development – a new urban expansion to the east of Swindon, speeding up the delivery of 8,000 new homes by 2026 to meet local housing needs.
• A new science park at Porton Down on Salisbury Plain, which will provide facilities for research, development and advanced skills training for companies specialising in life sciences and healthcare.
Local businesses and council leaders have been invited to open discussions immediately on the next set of projects to be funded.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Growth Deals are a crucial part of our long-term plan to secure Britain’s future.
“For too long our economy has been too London-focused and too centralised. Growth Deals will help change all that. They are about firing up our great towns and cities, boosting local economies and driving growth across the country.
“This historic deal means real change for people and businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire with big investments, including improving skills and access to higher education for young people; a new science park with specialist research facilities to support hi-tech and life science industries, and transport infrastructure schemes to support redevelopment and house-building in the area.
“By trusting local people, backing business and investing in infrastructure, skills and housing, we can create thousands of new jobs. And that means more economic security, peace of mind and a brighter future for hardworking people across the South West.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Deal will create thousands of jobs, provide incredible new training opportunities for young people, build of new homes and improve transport links across the country for people and their families; building a stronger economy and a fairer society.
“We’re placing the power and money in the hands of the people of Swindon and Wiltshire who know how to spend it best, making a real difference to local communities.”
Barry Dennington, the LEP chairman, said: “This deal is a positive step for the Swindon and Wiltshire economy and shows that our plans for growth are innovative, distinctive and deliverable.
"We are thrilled that Porton Science Park will now be delivered, creating 2,000 jobs along with developments in a major urban extension in Swindon that will see up to 8,000 new homes being built."
And Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott said: “Wiltshire welcomes this news and the funding that will be allocated to support economic growth in the county.
"This will help to safeguard and create new jobs and build a skilled workforce for the future”.