News from the region
Bristol arena funding agreed
Bristol’s long-awaited arena has been given the green light with the funding package agreed at Bristol’s Full Council this week, as part of the Mayor’s capital package.
Work can now begin to appoint an operator to run the planned 12,000 capacity venue, which will host large scale music and other spectator events, due to open in 2017.
The council is set to invest up to £91 million to build the arena, with around £38 million being funded by operator rental and other related income once the arena is built and £53 million being borrowed by the City Deal Economic Development Fund, managed by the WE LEP.
The funding was agreed as the owners of the 'Arena Island’ site, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) commission contractors Sisk to start work on the new bridge and infrastructure connecting it to the surrounding area.
The HCA is investing more than £11m in the provision of this new bridge to unlock the former Diesel Depot site. Work will start on clearing the ground in the next fortnight, with the major structural work on the bridge commencing in May of this year.
Read more here.
Bath’s £1m green energy investment
Bath & North East Somerset Council are planning to invest £1 million in a Green Investment and Job Opportunities Fund. The plan will see the council investing in local renewable energy, such as solar panel technology and hydro-electric power, which could create jobs and yield a net return to local taxpayers of 2% per year from the electricity generated, repaying the investment within 15 years.
Read more here.
Vision for Bath Riverside Enterprise Area
Funding was also confirmed in B&NES Council’s budget to enable work to continue on Bath Riverside Enterprise Area.
Bath intends to take advantage of its international reputation for excellence in ICT, digital and knowledge industries to provide future opportunities for local residents.
The vision is to create some 650,000 square feet of new workspace, generating around 9,000 private sector jobs. About 2,500 homes will be provided – all complete within 15 years.
Read the full feature in Connect Magazine here.
Business launch event for Bristol’s Food Connections Festival
Plans are well underway for an exciting programme of food events across Bristol as part of the city’s first ever Food Connections Festival. Taking place from May 1st – 11th, the festival will also see the BBC’s Food & Farming awards – described by Jamie Oliver as the ‘Food Oscars’ - come to Bristol for the first time.
Business West are hosting a launch event for businesses to find how they can get involved on March 12th at Watershed. Book your place here.
There are many sponsorship packages for businesses of all sizes and budgets. Find out more here.
Bristol Pound successfully bids for European project
With support from the WE LEP, Bristol Pound have successfully bid to become part of a European project studying the local impact of complementary currency schemes in Europe. Bristol Pound are already mentoring and advising 22 different currency schemes worldwide and have grown very quickly to be the biggest scheme of its type in Europe.
As part of the project, Bristol, Sardinia and the Catalonian region of Spain will all implement different models of currency schemes and then compare results and disseminate best practice and knowledge. The amount of new money coming to Bristol as a result of this initiative is in excess of £1 million.
Bristol Pound currently has 1,400 members including 400 businesses and, with the help of this European money, has plans for major growth in the next few years. Find out more here.
West of England Quarterly Economic Bulletin now online
Each quarter the WE LEP produces an Economic Bulletin and Barriers to Growth Survey, providing an overview of the economic health of the region, and identifying what the immediate barriers to growth are for local businesses. View the latest reports for Quarter 4 2013 here.
LEPs are driving economic growth across an economic area. They provide a means for local authorities to work together with business in order to quicken the economic recovery.