Seven projects share £13.7m as the West of England gets building

WofE Mayor Tim Bowles

Town Centre improvements, new homes and office space, road and cycling improvements and a new railway station are all set to be developed more quickly to new funding secured by West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

The £13.7m funding, which will come through the and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is from the Government’s Getting Building Fund to help complete major projects which are planned to stimulate jobs and support the region’s economic recovery.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “Through our economic recovery and renewal from Covid-19, I am accelerating my ambitious plans for the West of England.

“By securing this new funding from the Government, we are able to get these projects moving so they can make a real and tangible difference to our local communities. From starting the new station at the Portway Park and Ride to getting new homes and office space built in Bath Quays and backing the technologies of the future at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, I am taking every opportunity we can to get things done.”

The projects are anticipated to improve connectivity across the region through significant transport works, investment in digital connectivity, bringing together academic research and economic sites, and regeneration to revitalise town centres and high streets.

The region has been allocated the funding for a wide-ranging package of projects that will deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy. WECA will administer the money alongside Local Growth Fund investments made through the LEP.

Chair of the West of England LEP, Professor Steve West, said: “As one of the most productive regions in the UK, the West of England is key to leading the national recovery. This latest funding from Government recognises the important role we play.

“We are working together to ensure that we rebuild on the strengths of our economy and we remain focused on our longer-term ambitions for clean growth that benefits every resident, as set out in our region’s Local Industrial Strategy.”

The projects set to benefit from the funding – helping safeguard jobs and create employment opportunities, new homes, office spaces and travel improvements – include:

  • A package of transport improvements on the A4018 corridor including a cycle path, new pedestrian crossings, bus stop upgrade and Variable Message Signs
  • A new single platform rail station next to the existing Portway park and ride site on the Severn Beach Line
  • Provision of a permanent one-way high street in Keynsham town centre which prioritises and dedicates space to walking and cycling and transforms the public realm
  • Enabling infrastructure and reclaiming brownfield land for the development of new offices and creative workspaces at Bath Quays South.
  • Creating a Centre of Excellence for open research and innovation into future Industrial Internet of Things – linking key academic, research and economic locations such as National Composites Centre, Bristol & Bath Science Park, and the UWE Bristol Robotics Lab and FutureSpace.
  • Using new technology to develop an advanced composite bridge design solution that can be efficiently and economically used in a variety of locations. It also includes the implementation of pedestrian and cycle facilities at Emersons Green.
  • Redeveloping the empty Weston General Stores site in Weston town centre to deliver workspace for collective trading platforms entrepreneurs, micro-manufacturing, events and rehearsal, cycle hub, business support, and skills, learning and employability.