Allocation of Residual Growth Point Funding (Agenda Item 9)
Report of the Executive Member for Income & Prosperity.
The Executive Member for Income & Prosperity explained that the money had originally been allocated by the council for spending through the Moving Thetford Forward initiative which had now finished. The Greater Thetford Development Partnership which was making great progress in planning for future growth in Thetford supported the proposal. She then invited the Executive Director Commercialisation to give further details.
The Executive Director Commercialisation noted that the money was allocated to the council from growth point funding and there were no restrictions on how it could be spent. The Council was keen to make big projects happen and the Thetford Enterprise Park (TEP) had to be a partnership project. The intention was to seek support and a collaborative approach from NCC and the New Anglia LEP to join the project which would provide ‘blended finance’ for the scheme.
The Chief Executive informed Members that she was currently the interim Chairman of the Greater Thetford Development Partnership Board. They had been consulted on the proposals and whilst they were supportive they had raised concerns about the outstanding projects left over from the Moving Thetford Forward programme.
The Executive Director Place advised that those projects had not been forgotten. S106 funding was being sought to provide for the Play Areas. The Council was working with the trustees of Charles Burrell Museum on their business plan and would support them in making funding applications and NCC and the Town Council were in discussions about the Cosy Carpets site. Other legacy projects would be supported in other ways.
Councillor Borrett said that the Council had a good record in Thetford and had spent millions to develop and improve its prosperity. Other schemes would benefit from this huge project. The site was too big for the Council to develop alone and if it could lever in other money it would provide an opportunity to develop something that would be of benefit to the whole community. With the dualling of the A11 the site was in the right place. It was a good project and he heartily endorsed it.
REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
Investment in the TEP provides the opportunity for a greater number of jobs to the area. Participating in a multi-agency solution where a number of stakeholders collaborate, each contributing a proportion of the overall investment requirements secures the greatest opportunity to maximise inward investment, benefiting the town and surrounding villages.
The benefits arising as a result of option1 are measurably greater in terms of job numbers than option 2 and option 2 may be deliverable via other funding sources which are being actively pursued.
Option 3 will not deliver the Councils growth ambitions as set out in the corporate plan.
Option 1 To allocate any residual growth point funding to the TEP
Option 2 To allocate the funding to the projects submitted but not approved to the MTF board.
Option 3 Do Nothing
1) £489,882 residual Growth Point Funding is allocated to contribute to the delivery of the Thetford Enterprise Park (TEP);
2) any unspent project allocations under the now dissolved Moving Thetford Forward Programme (MTF) returned to the Council in the future are allocated to contribute to the delivery of the Thetford Enterprise Park;
3) the sums above together with the recently secured Norfolk Business Rates Pool Grant of £450,000 will be utilised as part of a multi-agency package blending financial contributions from a number of inter-agency sources to facilitate the infrastructure investment required to deliver the Enterprise Park; and
4) the Executive Director of Commercialisation is requested to represent the Council and in discussions to secure the required multi-agency agreement for successful delivery of the TEP and report back to Cabinet the outcome.