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£36m boost for Somerset will benefit Bridgwater
TENS of millions of pounds will be spent on projects creating jobs, improving roads and upgrading flood defences in the Bridgwater area.
The Government and the Heart of the South-West Local Enterprise Partnership say Somerset will get up to £36million for a host of projects – many affecting Bridgwater – as part of a funding package worth £270million to the region.
Projects include those associated with the Hinkley Point C development, such as:
* A £5.02million investment for Bridgwater College.
* £3.94million for the South-West Low Carbon Energy Innovation and Collaboration Centre.
* £6.5million for the Hinkley Point Training Agency.
Transport links will also be improved with £1.9million to upgrade the Huntworth Roundabout.
There will also be £13million for flood prevention, including £3.55million to widen the River Sowy with an additional allocation of £9.5million up to 2020-21.
Around £130million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund has been secured for the whole region, and Somerset will receive £18.67million for 2015-16 with a further £5.44million proposed for 2016-17 and £11.9million for 2020-21.
Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger told the Mercury: “It’s great news – it will put Bridgwater on the map.
“The head of the LEP, Steve Hindley, is also chairman of the Midas group, which is building the new theatre at Bridgwater College.
“He wants more investment in Sedgemoor and we welcome that.
“The money will go towards supporting the Puriton energy project and enterprise park.
There will be thousands more jobs created.”
Mr Hindley said: “This deal is a huge success for our area. It will drive significant investment in transport infrastructure.
“It will also help us kickstart investment in skills to boost productivity and create jobs in new industries like nuclear and environmental science, as well as existing ones like engineering and marine.”
County councillor David Hall, cabinet member for Business, Inward Investment and Policy, said a further £19.6million has been set aside to fund key Somerset projects up to 2020- 21.
He said: “We’ve campaigned hard for these Local Growth Funds with the Heart of the South-West Local Enterprise Partnership and I’m delighted it has paid off.”
Rupert Cox, chief executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said he was pleased the Government had recognised the economic opportunities associated with Hinkley Point C.
He said: “For us to capitalise on this we must invest in improving skills and supply chain development for the nuclear new build renaissance.”
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