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£24m Expansion of Black Country Growth Deal

• Extra £24m for Black Country Growth Deal
• Total Government investment increases to £162.7m to 2021
• Leveraging total investment in the area of up to £500m 

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has agreed an expansion to its Growth Deal with the Government which will see an extra £24m invested in the Black Country between 2016 and 2021. 

This is in addition to the £138m of funding committed by the Government on 7 July 2014. Over the lifetime of its Deal (2015-2021) the Black Country LEP estimates that up to 5,000 new jobs could be created, 1,400 new homes built and that it has the potential to generate up to £310m public and private investment.

The additional proposed projects include:

  • The creation of a Light Rail Innovation Centre in Dudley which will specialise in prototype vehicle design and construction, as well as providing education, and research and development facilities to local businesses.
  • The strategic development of Wolverhampton City College to support at least 3,000 learners and 50 businesses
  • Bringing forward another element of an on-going regeneration programme – mixed-use, leisure & housing development at Walsall Waterfront with up to 160 jobs

The Black Country Growth Deal is part of a long term plan to devolve at least £12 billion from central government to local economies. 

The Prime Minister said: 

"Giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development and make the spending decisions that work for them is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain and ensure a recovery for all.

"And this is happening right across the Black Country, with more money announced today for key projects to boost the local economy as part of the multi-million pound expansion of the Government’s Growth Deals.

"And because the money will be in the control of a partnership of local community, business and civic leaders it means it will go on the things that really matter to people and businesses here.”

The Black Country LEP Chair Stewart Towe CBE said: 

"The expansion of the Black Country Growth Deal is welcome news as it reinforces the momentum behind the renaissance of the Black Country. The additional investment will increase capital grants and support for business, equip the next generation with the skills they need to provide new housing and create a Light Rail Innovation Centre to develop the technology.”

Councillor Darren Cooper, Chair Black Country Joint Committee, LEP Board Member and Leader Sandwell MBC said:

"The Black Country Growth Deal is a testament to our Black Country vision and strong partnership. The additional investment announced will boost the quality of life in the Black Country by creating more jobs and building additional homes.”

Background information

1. How much is the Government investing in The Black Country as part of the Growth Deal?

Initial Growth Deal (July 2014) - total awarded
Expansion - additional funding awarded (Jan 2015)Total Expanded Growth Deal
Local Growth Fund

2.  What proposed projects will this new tranche of funding deliver?

  • The strategic development of Wolverhampton City College to support at least 3000 learners and 50 businesses
  • Bringing forward another element of an on-going regeneration programme – mixed-use, leisure & housing development at Walsall Waterfront with up to 160 jobs
  • An innovation centre to provide a wide range of facilities to support industry networking, education, research and development, prototype vehicle design and construction. Partnership between Dudley College and Warwick Manufacturing Group providing approximately 50 jobs
  • Infrastructure and improvements to public spaces to kick start major developments which have stalled due to market conditions in Dudley town centre gateway and bring up to 500 jobs to the town
  • Environmental improvements, land remediation and acquisition of residential premises so that land can be developed for industrial use at Black Patch
  • Gap funding to deliver a strategic residential site comprising approximately 270 homes in Sandwell
  • Additional funding to a programme of capital grants to business expansion in the priority sectors for the Black Country
  • Additional funding for a  programme of support for infrastructure schemes to open up employment and housing sites 
  • Increasing funding to a programme to provide capital equipment to training providers to meet the needs of employers in the engineering sector.

This adds to the projects that were announced in July including: 

  • State of the art new Centre for Advanced Building Technologies and Construction Skills: comprising approximately 4,427m2 of new teaching and workshop facilities to complete the £48m investment in Dudley Advance;
  • Wolverhampton Interchange: A fully integrated transport hub, providing an attractive and effective gateway for the Black Country and improved links to Birmingham and future HS2 connectivity. The development will include a new railway station, new commercial office accommodation for companies who will create high value jobs and increased parking facilities;
  • Bentley Lane Remediation project: creating 11ha of high quality employment land through site remediation works and off site road improvements to draw in £40m of private sector development;
  • Advanced Science, Engineering & Technology Centre at Halesowen College: – a new centre to provide local people with the skills they need to take advantage of the area’s reputation in science, engineering and technology;
  • City Centre Cultural & Business Events: A major refurbishment and extension of the Wolverhampton Civic Halls and theatre complex to meet demand and stimulate further economic development and investment in the city centre;
  • M6 Junction 10 improvements: to improve capacity and reduce congestion to improve traffic flow in the area as well as support the Black Country Enterprise Zone;
  • Goscote Lane Corridor: A programme to bring forward a residential development of 750 houses on three related vacant brownfield sites, totalling 21ha and promoting mixed home ownership;
  • Accessing Growth Fund: A programme of smaller infrastructure schemes which improve access to employment sites and town centres;
  • Growing Priority Sectors Programme: providing access to finance to SMEs in priority sectors through capital investment in plant, machinery & property; 
  • A new Science, Technology and Prototyping Centre: expanding the Wolverhampton Science Park facilities and extending the work of the Black Country Growth Factory and Caparo Innovation centre;
  • The Regeneration of Bilston Centre: with provision of infrastructure, services and remediation to Bilston Urban Village to facilitate the release of further residential and employment development sites;
  • Managing Short Trips: a package of sustainable transport projects for walking and cycling routes to create an Active Travel Network;
  • FAB KIT: an investment in a range of high value manufacturing capital equipment which will be available for small businesses to use in addressing their skills needs; 
  • More homes in Dudley: The Government will also increase the Housing Revenue Account borrowing limit for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council by £6.2m to help support the development of new affordable homes.
  • The development of an Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills: recognising the significance of the Black Country as a centre for manufacturing;
  • Improvements to access at Woods Lane, Sandwell: to enable increased housing delivery.

3. How does this benefit the people of The Black Country?

The Black Country Growth Deal ‘Made in the Black Country Sold Around the World’ aims to drive growth opportunities through projects to support business growth, give people new skills, test new innovations, invest in roads and a railway station, and regenerate key sites for housing and employment in the Black Country. It is focusing on maximising the economic impact of growth opportunities from the Automotive, Aerospace and Construction sectors, capitalising on its key strengths in Advanced Manufacturing.

The additional funding will promote growth in The Black Country through its investment in skills through the relocation Wolverhampton College, and in the Light Rail Innovation centre in partnership with Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick,  well as jobs and new houses. 

According to estimates by the LEP, the Growth Deal could bring to The Black Country:

  • Up to 5000 Jobs
  • Up to 1400 Homes
  • Up to £310m  public and private sector investment

4. What is the benefit for local businesses?

As well as much needed road improvements, the Growth Deal confirms additional funding to continue the delivery of the Black Country Growth Factory business support programme; provides further grants for business expansion; and commits Government and local partners to creating a new Science, Technology and Prototype Centre, expanding the Wolverhampton Science Park facilities and extending the work of the Black Country Growth Factory and Caparo Innovation centre. The £10m centre will provide 2,839m2 of high quality managed office space as well as dedicated and/or shared workspace and laboratory / testing space to facilitate prototype and R&D activity.  

This additional funding further invests in: a capital grants programme to support business expansion in the priority sectors in High Value Manufacturing, automotive, aerospace and building technologies; a programme which provides capital equipment to training providers to support employers in the engineering sector; and support for innovation in light rail industries.  

5. Facts and figures

The Growth Deal is one of a number of significant recent investments in growth opportunities in the Black Country including:

Growing Places Fund total allocation: £14,488,451

Enterprise Zone funding: £16,404,000

Black Country City Deal: As a result of the Deal key industrial development sites will be made available across the Black Country to support the growth of the region’s high-value manufacturing sector, backed by a Black Country Investment Fund of £30 million.

Regional Growth Fund: Black Country LEP area has to date received £19.2m investment from the Regional Growth Fund, and could also benefit from £27.0m invested in neighbouring LEPs.


Picture caption: Proposed Light Rail Innovation centre, Castle Hill Dudley.

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