THE redevelopment of Sunderland’s Vaux brewery site moved a step closer today with the signing of the new North East Growth Deal.
Universities, Science and Cities minister Greg Clark visited Science Central in Newcastle to put pen to paper on an agreement which will see nearly £330million of Government funding invested in the region.
The Echo revealed last month that the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) had agreed an expansion to its Growth Deal which would see an extra £40.6million invested in the region between 2016 and 2021, on top of the £289.3million of funding committed by the Government in July.
Among the projects for which money has been earmarked is the creation of a new Sunderland Central Business District on the Vaux site and Sunderland University’s Enterprise and Innovation Hub, which is expected to attract and create more than 120 businesses and 250 jobs over five years, with a further 400 created long term.
The hub will house the North East’s first FabLab – an innovative project started by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, which enables people to prototype and try out new product ideas.
Mr Clark joined North East Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Paul Woolston to sign the Growth Deal, which it is estimated will help create up to 5,000 new jobs over its six-year lifetime.
“Growth Deals show just what can be achieved when businesses, local leaders and the Government work together to build a long-term plan for the local economy,” said Mr Clark.
“The Growth Deal is a historic deal between central government and local leaders and businesses, by devolving powers and money from Whitehall to the North East so that local areas can lead their own growth.
“The Growth Deal I am signing today builds on the region’s strengths - the projects to improve local transport infrastructure, boost skills and drive innovation will play an important part in the region’s growth in the future.”
The North East Growth Deal will bring together local, national and private funding. Other projects funded across the region include:
Merchant Park 2 - to support inward investment and supply chain development close to the future home of Hitachi Rail Europe at Newton Aycliffe;
and Swans Wet Berth Infill - to create development land with quay frontage within the Swans shipyard on the Tyne.