Within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, we have already created partnerships and delivery mechanisms that can easily be adapted to fulfil the role required for our LEP.
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A suite of funds and investments to enhance business growth.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was launched in May 2011. Private sector-led, it is a partnership between the private and public sectors and is driving the economic strategy for the area, determining local priorities and undertaking activities to drive growth and the creation of local jobs.
The LEP is business-driven and our board includes nine representatives of the private sector in Cornwall, three Cornwall Council representatives, one representative from the Isles of Scilly Council and one representative from the Combined Universities for Cornwall. Click for more info.
The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP is one of 39 LEPs across England set up following the Coalition Government's new approach to economic development. This new approach puts businesses in the driving seat and empowers the private sector to determine their own priorities.
EU Structural and Investment Fund Strategy
In February the government wrote to every LEP proposing that each takes the lead in developing an EU Investment Strategy that complements the wider economic strategic plan for their area. For us, this means that we now have the opportunity to properly dovetail future EU investments with the Economic Growth Strategy for Cornwall & Isles of Scilly that we published in June 2012.
We have now received further guidance from government and need your help in gathering the evidence to set the priorities for spending a combined programme expected to be worth more than £400 million to Cornwall & Isles of Scilly over the period 2014 - 2020.
The EU Structural and Investment Fund Strategy will need to reflect the interests of a broad range of economic, social and environmental partners to ensure that we make the most of this opportunity and get the best possible mix of returns for Cornwall & Isles of Scilly.
We obviously have a lot to do over the next few months but this is not a blank sheet of paper, with our existing strategy we already have our overarching priorities in place. The task ahead is to assemble the detail beneath these, with the evidence, and to negotiate with government to establish sufficient freedoms and flexibilities to allow us to put in place the best range of opportunities for utilising what will probably be our last European programme of this kind.
We have set up four priority sub-groups, one for each of the four priorities in our Economic Growth Strategy and between now and September each will be looking at ways to maximise the impact of this next EU investment.
Our first task has been to identify all those groups and individuals whose knowledge and experience we will need to take into account in order to set ourselves the best strategic direction for the use of these funds.
If you, or a group you belong to, wish to contribute to our work or would like to be consulted on our emerging priorities for the next EU programme. We will shortly be launching an on-line survey in which you might also like to participate.
Once our strategic proposals have been agreed with government (in the autumn) we will need to work with managing authorities and key delivery partners to develop an EU compliant pipeline of projects which deliver the strategy. There will obviously be a good deal more to say about this when the time comes.
After the government's welcome announcement of support for the A30 improvement at Temple, I would like to thank everyone who has responded to the call for evidence as part of the economic impact study necessary to meet the government's requirements for this investment.
After a slow start, a helpful jolt from the local press succeeded in mobilising business people from right across the LEP area to contribute hard economic evidence to our survey. I am please to report that more than 200 survey returns have now been received. The data this yields really helps us to substantiate the anecdotal evidence which proved so successful in making the winning case.
Not only does this work establish the baseline by which success might be judged for this project but it establishes a core of valuable data that will help underpin the justification for other infrastructural improvements needed in Cornwall and Scilly.
New Board Members
In March we welcomed two new directors to the LEP Board, Andrew Williams, Managing Director of the Lanhydrock Estate and currently Chair of the Cornwall Country Land and Business Association, and Roland Tiplady, Chairman of construction consultancy Ward Williams. This brings the number of private sector board members to nine, the public sector total standing at five. The next twelve months are vitally important for the LEP as we begin to deliver our eight year strategy and their skills and experience will be immensely valuable to our work.
With the May local elections behind us, we look forward to confirming the names of the public sector representatives from Cornwall Council who will continue the good work of their predecessors.
The Aerohub at Newquay Cornwall Airport goes from strength to strength. The Bloodhound tests, the arrival of The Classic Airforce, Ainscough Wind Energy Services, and the steady stream of investment prospects, all clearly demonstrate the commercial attractiveness of the Enterprise Zone. These investments are not only bringing highly skilled jobs to the area but will support growth in the local supply chain and act as a catalyst to attract other companies offering complimentary activity. Clearing the way for further growth, we have now reached a significant milestone with the government's confirmation of the second Local Development Order (LDO) for the site.
The new LDO provides a simplified planning process and allows development on the Aerohub site without the need for planning permission. This is a clear advantage to investors and one that holds great potential for the development of the 35.5 hectare Business Park. Without doubt, the LDO is a breakthrough that will greatly assist us in achieving our 20 year vision for the site. The Aerohub is now one of the largest 'planning free' development sites in the UK.
Although the Enterprise Zone is led by the LEP and Cornwall Council, as the owners of the airport and surrounding land, huge thanks must go to Cornwall Development Company, the Council's arm's length development organisation, for leading the way on this process and to Cornwall Airport Limited the operator of the Airport.
Andrew Williams (LEP Board Director) and I met Rt. Hon Gregory Barker MP (Minister of State for Climate Change and Energy) and his technical officials earlier this month to discuss how Government and local stakeholders can progress the deep-geothermal opportunity in Cornwall.
A key message that we took from this meeting is that the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is keen to progress the development of a deep-geothermal demonstration project this calendar year. However, DECC still requires clarity regarding the potential of the UK's deep-geothermal resource so has commissioned a short, independent feasibility study. This should be completed by August 2013 and, if they consider that there is a compelling case, a significant capital grant scheme will be made available to help fund the first commercial projects capable of demonstrating this technology at scale in the UK.
The LEP will continue to work with both Engineered Geothermal Systems Ltd (The Eden Project) and Geothermal Engineering Ltd (United Downs) to ensure that we are able to maximise this unique opportunity under a single, strategic governance framework for the benefit of Cornwall's businesses and local people.