Cash injection for Enterprise Zone works

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has supported Walsall Council’s £500,000 application for Growing Places funding to carry out site investigations, in partnership with private land owners, on the Darlaston part of the region’s Enterprise Zone.

The LEP has a total of over £14 million of Growing Places funding to allocate to worthy causes in order to help kick-start developments. The allocation to the Enterprise Zone is the first public announcement of where any of the funding will be spent.

There are 14 individual sites in the Darlaston part of the Enterprise Zone, totalling nearly 50 hectares and with the support of private land owners, work will be carried out to establish ground conditions to inform how development can be brought forward.

The Black Country Enterprise Zone also comprises of sites in north Wolverhampton including the regionally significant i54 site and in total will create 6,000 new jobs.

Tim Hair, private sector lead on the Black Country Enterprise Zone for the LEP, said:
“This funding will help ensure barriers to getting the Darlaston half of the Enterprise Zone moving forward are understood and overcome. These investigations will enable land owners and Walsall Council to establish ground conditions on the sites in order to attract investment to reclaim the sites and facilitate development coming forward as swiftly as possible.”

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said:
“The Enterprise Zone will create thousands of jobs for local people and it is a priority for the council and for the Black Country LEP. We are delighted to have secured the Growing Places funding to ensure work on the site can get underway in the near future.”
The LEP wants to use the Growing Places funding to address key obstacles that have stalled development in the area. These barriers may have been in relation to infrastructure or site constraints or due to a lack of buildings or assets, which can be overcome with appropriate funding.

To meet the funds objective of generating economic activity in the short term, projects must conform to local policies as well as have planning and other permissions in place. Establishing a revolving fund is another objective for the fund so projects that have a mechanism to repay the investment will also be considered favourably.

Following the allocation of the £500,000 to Walsall Council for the Enterprise Zone works, the LEP will make announcements on around an additional £4 million in the coming weeks. This followed a call for applications earlier in the summer.

But the LEP will then be putting out another call for applications from the private and public sector to take advantage of around £9 million that will still be available.