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Cheadle and district to benefit from £5m

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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CHEADLE and district is set to receive benefit from a growth pot of £5 million to regenerate the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is setting up the fund, which is aimed at delivering new employment land through the provision of new roads and infrastructure.

Funding for the growth project will be raised from European money, the Communities Mean Business LEADER Programme, Prudential Borrowing, along with a Government assisted area funding programme, which includes Cheadle, Checkley and Forsbrook.

Executive director of the district council, Dai Larner, said the growth fund was a new way of financing local government.

He said: "Parts of the A50 corridor are a Government assisted area where companies could have high periods of grants.

"Three wards, Cheadle West, Checkley and Forsbrook are likely to get Government assisted funding.

"This money could also help to bring derelict properties back into use."

The funding, which could achieve a leverage of up to £10 million, would also be available to help small and medium companies across the district.

Cheadle councillor Richard Alcock said: "The road situation in Cheadle and the surrounding area has got to be looked at first.

"The roads need to be planned before any expansion takes place."

Leader of the council, Sybil Ralphs, said: "Along with major projects this money will help small and medium businesses to expand, and then they will be able to take on an additional workforce.

"In cases like this if you don't ask you don't get; gone are the days when local councils could rely on Government funding.

"The road infrastructure is so important as businesses can't expand and this is an issue which will be tackled at a seminar in June involving the district and county councils at Thornbury Hall, Kingsley Holt.

"We have come through one of the worst recessions; now we have excellent projects lined up."

In a report to councillors Mr Larner said: "There are a number of specific instances of market failure in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

"These include a shortage of modern business units, derelict, vacant and under used former mill buildings which contribute to the sense of place/heritage, but are in generally poor condition and have not come forward for development and reuse, along with the lack of infrastructure.

"The Prudential Borrowing Code allows councils to borrow to invest in fixed assets, as long as they can show that the borrowing is prudent."

Councillor Andrew Hart said the proposed scheme was like the Ascent project between the district council and Moorlands Housing to build more than 400 new properties across the area.

He said: "European money is available and we should take advantage of it. This should go ahead successfully."

Councillor Kevin Jackson said this was something the council needed to do.

He said: "Regeneration does take some time to get going. We would have to be careful not to support the things that were already going ahead. The most important part is the infrastructure."

Mr Larner added: "This fund, which is linked to regeneration priorities, could draw in even more money. There are public funds available and this will provide access.

"Direct returns can be achieved from repayment of loans, rent or sale of developed assets, like business units, and from the sale of land serviced by the fund.

"In addition the council will receive income from business rate retention, Right to Buy receipts, New Homes Bonus and s106 agreements through planning applications."

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