More than £32 million investment in projects to drive economic growth and support residents’ skills was approved by the West of England Joint Committee on Friday 15 February.
Committee members agreed to invest £23.9 million from the Economic Development Fund and £7 million through the Local Growth Fund to support Bath & North East Somerset Council’s initial development works on Bath Quays North. The project will see the creation of around 200,000 square feet of offices on the Bath Quays North site in the Enterprise Zone.
The West of England Joint Committee also awarded Bath College more than £2 million from the Local Growth Fund to support the refurbishment of its Catering and Hospitality Education and Training Hub. This will create a state-of-the-art hub with specialist training facilities to keep pace with the growing demand for hospitality and catering sector skills.
Professor Steve West, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are happy to approve the funding for these schemes which support our ambitions for clean and inclusive economic growth in the West of England, through improving skills opportunities for people across the region, helping more start-up businesses to develop and grow, and increasing productivity.”
Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said: “These are big, exciting projects that will make a real difference to our residents’ lives, boosting business, skills and job opportunities in Bath and the wider region.”
Councillor Paul Myers, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “This funding both contributes to the physical development of key office space in Bath as well as delivering facilities essential for skills development for a future workforce and is to be welcomed. I am especially pleased that Bath continues to attract new business and with this funding we are demonstrating our commitment to economic vitality in the city and across the wider area.”
Laurel Penrose, Principal and CEO of Bath College: “We are delighted at the allocations of the capital funds for catering/hospitality and the next steps for the digital centre as we know how beneficial it will be to the local economy. Furthermore, it’s a real vote of confidence in Bath College’s staff and students, who will benefit greatly.”
The committee also invited the following colleges to develop further business cases for new projects, totalling more than £10 million, to benefit local learners and businesses:
• Bath College’s Digital and Creative Innovation Centre at the Bath city centre campus
• South Gloucestershire and Stroud College’s sub-regional Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths Hub, at its West of England Institute of Specialist Education campus at Stoke Gifford
• Weston College’s Animal Management Education Centre – a new education facility for the delivery of the animal management curriculum at Puxton Park.
The Joint Committee is the decision-making body for issues relating to the West of England Combined Authority, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils, and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.