Successful funding bid will create 6,000 new jobs for region


Sarah Staples

A BUSINESS PARK bringing as many as 6,000 jobs to Oswestry will be built if a government funding bid gets the go ahead, it has been revealed.
Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has placed a £102 million bid to the Government, which includes an appeal for £3.5 million to help develop the Oswestry Innovation Park.
It is battling against 38 other partnerships in the UK bidding for a slice of a £2 billion Single Local Growth Fund to support regions over the next five years.
The park is proposed for land off Mile End Roundabout. It will see 2,389 jobs secured through companies already interested in the site and could potentially bring up to 6,000 jobs if it is fully developed. The LEP claims it will also match government funding with more than £52 million.
It is one of 14 projects highlighted in the partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) to develop Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire during 2015/2016 and the plan has already gained support from three local authorities.
Graham Wynn OBE, chairman of the Marches LEP, said: “This is our bid for a growth deal for the Marches.
“The SEP sets out our priorities for addressing areas of business need. These range from infrastructure including transport and broadband, education and skills investment and access to small business finance.”
The plan was handed to Government ministers and also shows how nearly 40,000 new jobs and more than 70,000 new homes could be created across the region through accelerated growth.
Martin Bennett, Shropshire councillor for Oswestry, said he is in great support of the bid, adding: “I would welcome any investment in Oswestry, particularly those aimed at creating jobs.
“You could have the most wonderful mix of shops in the town but if people haven’t got money in their pockets there will not be anything spent in the town.
“Secure, well-paid jobs are needed and if we can attract them to Oswestry then I am all for it.”
The LEP also outlined the transformation of the A5 between Oswestry and Shrewsbury to a dual carriageway at a later date.
A document outlining potential projects includes a request for Government support in widening the A5 north West of Shrewsbury, claiming it is currently “inadequate”.
The document states: “Dualling or partial dualling of the A5/A483 north of Shrewsbury, and improved junction capacity at junctions on the A5 Shrewsbury and Oswestry bypasses, would significantly improve journey times for freight movements on the TEN-T network (Trans European Network).”
n Meanwhile, plans have been submitted by the Highways Agency to develop Mile End Roundabout to have six exits.
The Mile End Roundabout Improvement Scheme has been given the green light by the Secretary of State for Transport, which reveals the roundabout connecting the A5 and A483 will be made larger to facilitate the increase in approach roads.
Hedgerows along the road would need to be removed and nearby agricultural land would be used to accommodate the roundabout and wider roads to the A5/A483 bypass.

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