Major Transport Investment Set To Create Development Opportunities for Lincolnshire
Record levels of investment for transport-related schemes in Lincolnshire
With the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) supporting local authorities and businesses, over £70 million has been committed to transport-related projects in the area between 2015/16 and 2020/21. This investment will create jobs by improving access to employment sites, town centres and new housing areas as well as supporting existing businesses, enhancing sustainable transport options and responding to key sector growth.
Given that the LEP has a stretching target to create 200,000 jobs in the area by 2020, then it is no surprise that economic growth is front and centre in their thinking, along with the role that improved transport networks play in contributing to this. The LEPs ambition is not wishful thinking either, their assertions are supported by industry experts with Lincolnshire being described as ‘having the most potential for growth in the region’.
Like many areas, over the past 8 years a large proportion of development opportunities have stalled due to issues of viability and poor access. Similarly, economic growth has been constrained by an inadequate local transport network. With the recently announced funding that is set to deliver a number of high profile schemes; businesses and residents are set to reap the benefits through improved transport connections and new services and opportunities.
LEP funding is expected to generate specific economic outcomes too, for example the new roundabout at the A17/A151 junction in Holbeach is set to create an important transport interchange for the agri-food sector, strengthen links to the National Centre of Food Excellence and enable 10 hectares of high-quality employment land and 40 hectares of residential development to come forward.
Similarly in North East Lincolnshire, the investment in the A16 at Toll Bar and in the A46 at Nuns Corner will improve traffic flow at two key strategic junctions, easing congestion and supporting housing development and employment growth in the area.
Also set to benefit from the funding is Grantham town centre which has long suffered from the impact of congestion caused by through traffic. Creating a new relief road that connects into the A1 will alleviate these issues and provide opportunities for new housing and employment developments on the town’s periphery, delivering up to 3,500 new homes and creating or safeguarding around 1,500 jobs.
One of the more high profile schemes set to be delivered is the transformational development of a new transport hub in Lincoln. With £11 million of Single Local Growth Fund leveraging a further £17.5 million in investment in the short term, the City and wider area are set to benefit from economic growth that this type of investment can deliver. The knock-on effect in terms of public realm improvement, job creation, employment space and retail enhancement alongside the emerging East-West Link Road, eastern bypass and railway station improvements are set to make a significant positive impact on this historic city.
The proposed transport hub will further support Lincoln which is making significant strides forward when competing with larger regional cities such as Nottingham, Derby and Leicester as Lincoln becomes a regional focus for education, innovation and growth.
Larger regional cities in the East Midlands have witnessed growth over the years following investment in major transport schemes and now it appears that Lincolnshire is set to benefit from these investments too. With record levels of public money being invested and supported by a buoyant, ambitious private sector and emerging world class university and R&D services, then one would suggest the area is not beginning to punch above its weight, but merely realising the latent potential for growth that has always existed.
Whilst the short term future seems pretty secure when considering strategic transport investment and growth for the area, there still remains an element of medium to long term uncertainty, as is always the case with general elections looming. With differing approaches proposed for national deficit reduction and prevailing increases in vociferous euro-sceptics, the future of long term strategic transport investment and European backed funding programmes (such as the European Structural and Investment Funds) is unclear.