Revolving Infrastructure Fund
The West of England Revolving Infrastructure Fund (RIF) is worth £56.7m and is made up of two elements; £16.9m from the Growing Places Fund and £39.8m from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The fund commenced in Spring 2013.
The fund enables the delivery of infrastructure required to unlock or serve development that will bring about economic and/or housing growth. The types of infrastructure supported by RIF include pieces of physical infrastructure such as roads, flood relief schemes or bridges that can be classed as open access public infrastructure.
By providing this key infrastructure upfront, planning risk is reduced, as are up-front planning obligation costs, enabling development to come forward quicker than it would ordinarily do. It is intended that new developments will also have a reduced impact on existing communities, as new infrastructure required to serve them will be in place prior to the completion of large-scale development.
As with all public funding, the RIF needs to be allocated in a State Aid compliant manner, this means that it cannot be used to grant fund what would be normal site specific development costs (such as remediation or other abnormal costs). However, the Fund could offer loan support for site-specific works such as these.
The RIF is a revolving fund in that all funding that it releases should be repaid to it. It can be utilised in a number of ways:
- As forward funding for planning obligations or Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
- As grant that is repaid through business rate growth retention
- As grant that is repaid from any other appropriate source (loan funding could be repaid through development value uplift, profit or rental income etc)
- As a revolving fund, it can programme in schemes for future funding as sums are repaid to it: as such, the RIF should be available for a good two decades to support sustainable growth across the LEP area.
As of 1st April 2015, new RIF schemes are part of the One Front Door process, and as such are managed by the Investment Board with scheme approvals granted by the Strategic Leaders Board. The West of England LEP funding programme includes schemes allocated funding via the Growth Deal, the Economic Development and Revolving Infrastructure Funds.
RIF schemes to date:
Saw Close Public Square Bath City Centre, a £2.15m project with £1,075m from RIF – Approved January 2016
The scheme will deliver improvements to the public highway and footways of Saw Close and the adjacent area of Upper Borough Walls to complete the Saw Close development public realm works, supporting development for the Bath City Riverside Enterprise Area. The scheme will facilitate sustainable transport routes in this part of the city centre and enhance and improve the economy and image of Bath City Centre. Completion anticipated in early 2018.
Operational since 2013, the RIF has been utilized to deliver mostly physical infrastructure such as roads, flood relief schemes and bridges across the West of England. The RIF schemes funded to date are available to view here.
Aztec West Roundabout, a £4.5m project with £1,729m from RIF - Approved March 2016
The proposed £4.5m improvement involves the widening of the A38 approach to the Aztec West roundabout from the North (from Junction 16), and the construction of associated pedestrian and cyclist crossing facilities across the A38 north and Aztec West arms of the junction.
Creative Hub, Weston-super-Mare, with funding of £458,562 from RIF together with £67,273 from North Somerset Council – Approved May 2017
As part of the wider Weston Town Centre Regeneration Programme, the purchase and development of a new Creative Hub building in central Weston. The Hub, to be called The Stable, will offer a range of facilities, services and support to enable entrepreneurs in the digital and creative industries to take the first steps in setting up their own businesses within a vibrant collaborative community.
Please contact Antony Corfield by email for further fund details.