A deal between the Government and the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) will result in more than £67 million being invested in the county, it has been announced.
The funding – announced by communities secretary Eric Pickles on a visit to the county today (Monday, July 7) – will help pay for infrastructure projects across the county.
The Government says it will help to create up to 4,000 jobs, allow up to 7,000 homes to be built and generate up to £60 million in public and private investment.
As part of the so-called Growrth Deal, almost £19 million will be handed over in the first year, with an indicative award of an extra £48.5 million of funding from 2016/17 onwards also announced.
The funding will pay for new roads in Wellingborough, including a new bridge over the railway line to allow the Stanton Cross housing development to the east of the town to begin.
It will also pay for improvements to the A43 between Kettering and Northampton, specifically the construction of two roundabouts, a dual carriageway, and public transport improvements at Moulton and Round Spinney.
The A45 Daventry Development Link Road is also in line for a funding boost.
Provisional allocation has also been made for improvements to public transport information, local bus networks, improved access to Wooton Hall Park, allowing for housing and education developments, and a new state of the art campus for Tresham College in Wellingborough town centre.
Mr Pickles, on a visit to chemical company Scott Bader in Wollaston, which has also received a Government funding boost viat the NEP, said: “It’s going to create the best part of 4,000 jobs and 7,000 new houses (in the county). It’s also going to be put into good high-tech firms – the likes of Scott Bader.”
He said the deal with the NEP would ensure the funding would reap the maximum benefit for the county, adding: “We have looked in terms of what we can do if we improve the roads – and we are going to improve the A43 and the A45 – or if we put a new bridge over the railway. Will it make a difference, will it release things, will it enable houses to be built?
“It’s going to make a very big difference.”
The funding has been welcomed by NEP chairman John Markham, who described it as a vote of confidence in the organisation’s plans for growth.
He added: “This gives us the opportunity to target investment where it counts, supporting our businesses to grow and creating jobs and real opportunities for local people.”
Scott Bader’s managing director Philip Bruce praised the work done by the NEP to help businesses in the county. He also said he was delighted to be able to welcome Mr Pickles to the firm to make today’s announcement.
Meanwhile, NEP board member and county council leader Jim Harker said: “Northamptonshire is the place to live, work and do business and this investment by Government will support our transport infrastructure, which is critical to keeping the county moving.”
Prime Minister David Cameron added: “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 with plans for new and better roads to help people get to work, businesses to grow and support thousands of new homes.
“By trusting local people, backing business and investing in infrastructure, skills and housing, we can create thousands of new jobs.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “We’re placing the power and money in the hands of people in Northamptonshire who know how to spend it best, making a real difference to local communities.”