The allocations have been announced for the £900million Getting Building Fund (GBF) for ‘investment in local, shovel-ready infrastructure projects to stimulate jobs and support economic recovery across the country’.
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area has been allocated £47million for 18 different projects.
Of these, three are in Northumberland – two in Blyth and one in Bedlington – and they will receive a total of £6.7million.
Enhancing Blyth’s reputation as a leader in renewable energy will be the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Test & Validation Centre (RAS), which will be the first centre of its type for offshore wind in the UK.
This will be part of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and will provide new jobs and research opportunities for companies seeking to accelerate product and service development.
The second investment in the town is for the first phase of the Northumberland Energy Park (NEP1), the 15-hectare offshore energy employment site and Enterprise Zone on the Blyth Estuary.
Initial works to prepare the site include dock enhancements, reclamation and remediation, and the funding will allow this to be accelerated alongside ‘additional site preparation to enhance investor attractiveness and port trade’.
Blyth Valley’s Conservative MP, Ian Levy, said: This is brilliant news for Blyth Valley and the surrounding area.
“It once again confirms the Government’s commitment to our region and having made the case for investment, I am delighted that the response is a multimillion-pound allocation.
“The contribution to the offshore wind centre is critically important and means that Blyth will continue to be the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.
“NEP1 is a strategically important site for the whole county and will hopefully lead to hundreds of high-quality and skilled jobs once the site preparation works are complete.”
The final project to be awarded cash is the redevelopment of Bedlington town centre, with the mixed leisure and retail scheme, including an enterprise hub facility, being led by Northumberland County Council’s regeneration company Advance Northumberland.
To deliver new homes while protecting greenfield sites, the Government has confirmed a £23.9million investment in the North of Tyne Combined Authority area through its £400million Brownfield Fund.
A further £551,000 of funding has also been announced to help speed up the delivery of these new homes in the North of Tyne area, while the Government is inviting ‘ambitious bids’ from the mayoral combined authorities for the remaining £40million of the fund.