02 February 2010

Northamptonshire County Council has continued to secure funding to bolster economic growth in the county over the past year, despite the nation being in one of the deepest recessions in decades.

Since October 2008 the county has secured up to £874 million in external funding for infrastructure projects, of which £443 million can be directly attributed to the county council.

Up to £400 million is for major improvements to the national road network involving the A14 and a new junction between the A14, M1 and M6 on the western edge of the county.

Almost £200 million has been secured from new development. This is primarily for new schools and transport improvements, but will also benefit services.

£11 million has been secured for economic investment. This will be applied across various areas including skills, innovation, business support, and improved infrastructure.

More than £70 million is going towards a variety of projects in county. This is via the Growth Fund which Northamptonshire receives from government as a result of its national status as a housing growth area. The authority is directly responsible for about half of this funding.

The county council now plans to continue to implement the projects throughout the county over the next year through the Capital Delivery Board, which was established in 2009 to ensure that Northamptonshire has the means and capacity to bring major capital schemes to fruition.

The county council will also continue to develop and promote the Northamptonshire Arc concept as the concept for delivering growth with partners in the county – focusing attention and investment on an axis which encompasses the main population centres in Northamptonshire.

The county council’s cabinet is due to discuss the success in securing the funding at a meeting on Tuesday, February 9. It will also consider what more needs to be done.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for environment, growth and transport, said: “There is no doubt that securing this money will make a real difference to the lives of the people of Northamptonshire in the medium to long term and help attract further investment and new businesses.

“The projects this money is for are all about improving the county as a place to live and work and it is vital this funding is secured to make them happen.”

Other areas where funding has been secured include £138 million for Project Reduce, the joint waste initiative with Milton Keynes Council; £34.5 million for Corby Link Road; and £2.2 million to help create 350 temporary new jobs for the long-term young unemployed in Northamptonshire.

The funding awarded by the government for the initiatives has to be spent on the specific projects.