Scilly’s Sewer Upgrades Likely As Region Receives Funding Package
These schemes can now go ahead following the announcement that Scilly and Cornwall’s Local Enterprise Partnership has been awarded £49m from the government’s ‘Growth Deal’ scheme.
Another £149m will be coming from the private sector and the public purse, now the government grant is guaranteed.
With the additional EU money being sourced, it means the islands’ and Cornwall should share around £1bn of grant money between 2015 and 2020.
There had been worries that control over where the money is spent would be taken away from the region. But following negotiations with the government, the LEP says they’ve secured new powers to ensure all spending decisions for the next EU funding programme are made locally.
LEP Chief Executive, Sandra Rothwell, says it is good for the islands that the LEP will decide where the funds are spent because of our unique situation, such as the increased freight costs and the impact that has on any building projects.
The Council has said it welcomes the news, which will provide significant investment into Scilly’s aging and fragile sewerage system as well as smart grid technology. That’s an automated way of efficiently controlling the distribution of the islands’ electricity supply.
Money could also be available for renewable energy and skills development.
The LEP had asked the government for £15m to update St Mary’s sewers, although the Council has said previously that the work would cost closer to £5m, around £10m less.
Sandra says the funding can be used broadly in line with the original purpose but she couldn’t say how much of the £15m requested for water and sewerage has actually been agreed at this stage.
The LEP has also stated that they want to build at least 6,000 new homes in the region and it is unclear whether unused grant money could be used to fund the Council’s proposals for a major home building programme on St Mary’s
There will be money available for skills training and a replacement for the Local Action Group, which funded smaller business and community projects
A formula will determine how much Scilly receives for the ‘new LAG’ but Sandra says Scilly will still need to put forward strong business plans for any new schemes it needs funding.
The Council is now creating a new job role of a LEP Liaison Officer and Sandra says that close contact will be important to ensure the LEP can work closely with the Council and local businesses to define what comes next.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg will confirm the funding officially later today.