£580m of investment set to benefit the West of England

Economy & Politics | Education | Employment & Skills | Funding | Property & Construction | South West | Transport & Distribution
WofE Mayor Tim Bowles

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) will discuss long-term plans for £580m in investment at its next meeting.

Proposals to invest over the next 20 years to support clean and inclusive economic growth across the region are set out in a report to the meeting, which will be held at Bristol City Hall on Friday 1 February.

This includes £350m for transport, £100m for homes, £80m for business, and £50m for skills.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “Working with our council partners, we are developing long-term investment schemes that will deliver on the region’s ambition for growth that benefits every resident. We will be discussing how we plan to invest to improve transport and digital connections, support new homes and employment sites, help businesses to grow and thrive, and improve opportunities for residents through better skills and training.

“I have been working hard to raise the profile of our region with central government and as a result we have already secured over £180m in extra funding from government – this is in addition to the £1bn over 30 years agreed in the devolution deal.”

In transport, proposals for investing £350m include improving transport connections to support more homes and business growth; rail improvements, including MetroWest, and investment into infrastructure/stations; mass transit – exploring new, sustainable public transport alternatives; improving and extending bus routes (including metrobus); investing in park and rides alongside alterations to roads to reduce traffic volume; a range of schemes to encourage more people to walk and cycle; and investing in digital infrastructure.

£100m funding for homes would be prioritised to delivering ambitions set out in the region’s Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Local Transport Plan and targeted intervention to unlock and to speed up house-building, such as buying land for new housing or investing in infrastructure upfront to enable development.

Business funding of £80m would be targeted at providing strategic employment locations, supporting Enterprise Areas and promoting new strategic sites.

Proposals for skills would see £50m invested in education and skills providers to ensure they meet the needs of local businesses and make training more accessible to all.

The Combined Authority is chaired by the Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, and is made up of the leaders and Mayor from its three member councils – Bath & North East Somerset (Leader, Cllr Tim Warren), Bristol City Council (Mayor Marvin Rees) and South Gloucestershire Council (Leader, Cllr Toby Savage). The Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Professor Steve West, also attends committee meetings.

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