Borderlands major investment deal speeded up - chief says move will help Northumberland recover from covid

A major investment package for Northumberland and its cross-border neighbours is to be speeded up, the Chancellor said this week.

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 27th November 2020, 6:13 pm
The sign at the planned site of the Ad Gefrin distillery and visitor centre in Wooler, one of the projects to be awarded Borderlands funding.
The sign at the planned site of the Ad Gefrin distillery and visitor centre in Wooler, one of the projects to be awarded Borderlands funding.

Rishi Sunak announced that the funding for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will be accelerated as the UK Government reconfirmed its commitment.

As part of the 2020 Spending Review, it was confirmed that the investment will be delivered over 10 rather than 15 years.

The Borderlands Partnership is a collaboration between five local authorities – Carlisle, Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway, Northumberland and Scottish Borders, which represent 10% of the UK’s landmass and an area larger than Wales.

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An impression of how the Ad Gefrin Distillery will look.

The deal, worth at least £350million, aims to create thousands of new job opportunities, bring millions of extra tourists to the area and unlock investment in towns.

Cllr John Mallinson, the Borderlands Partnership Board co-chairman as well as leader of Carlisle City Council, described the accelerated deal as ‘fantastic news’, adding that it ‘will also provide crucial support to our region’s recovery from the Covid-19 emergency and ensure we set in place strong foundations on which to build back better and greener, delivering inclusive and sustainable growth’.

Fellow co-chair Cllr Shona Haslam, the leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “The unlocking of investment in our towns will generate a predicted £1.1billion uplift in the region’s GVA, and the partners will be able to deliver individually and collectively a range of projects which will not only improve the area for existing residents, but also encourage more to move here, which will help address some of the common challenges we face.”

The local authority partners have agreed with the UK and Scottish Governments that the full deal will be signed off by March 2021, however, as we reported in October, two major projects in north Northumberland are already underway.

The Lilidorei play village at The Alnwick Garden and the Ad Gefrin whisky distillery in Wooler are two of the early developments to be supported through the deal.

Work on Lilidorei is expected to start on site in early 2021 and open to visitors from spring 2022, while it is hoped that Ad Gefrin can open for business in late 2021.

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