By Marcus Leach

Communities whose ambitions for economic growth have been stuck in the mud could benefit from a multi-million pound boost to help get their building projects off the ground.

The £500million Growing Places Fund will be available to help boost economic growth by getting the required infrastructure built to enable the creation of new jobs and homes by getting stalled projects moving again.

The Fund will put local businesses and organisations in the driving seat, with the 38 local enterprise partnerships able to apply for the funding and then take decisions about what to prioritise locally.

Councils will support these plans with their technical and financial expertise — leaving local enterprise partnerships free of red tape and better able to focus their attentions on ensuring the funds go to where they will be used most effectively.

And to ensure work can start straight away to help get Britain building again, all £500million will be allocated from the end of January.

The Growing Places Fund can be used to establish revolving funds to take forward a range of projects that can help facilitate economic growth, jobs and housebuilding in the local area, providing returns which can be re-invested locally. Through this, local enterprise partnerships will be able to offer secure funding to developers in their area, making it quicker for projects to get off the ground but also securing a return on that investment for the local area.

Types of projects could include:

- Early development of strategic link roads and access works to unlock major mixed-use developments, enabling the delivery of homes and commercial space — leading to the creation of jobs and securing private investment;

- Provision of flood storage capacity to enable development of homes, employment space and retail space; and

- Works to improve local connectivity and reduce congestion through interventions such as extending dual carriageways, enabling developments to be taken forward sustainably.

And today (Monday), Ministers have published indicative allocations of the £500m Growing Places Fund to each of the 38 local enterprise partnerships, including:

- £12.9million for the Liverpool City Region
- £23.9million for the Leeds City Region
- £17.4million for the Local Enterprise Partnership covering Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- £14.9million for Birmingham and Solihull;
- Nearly £40million for London; and
- £14.2 million for the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership

“The £500million Growing Places Fund will unlock much-needed local infrastructure and get the homes we need built. It will be local enterprise partnerships, made up of the people and businesses who know their local areas best, who will decide where this cash boost will be spent," Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said.

“I now want to see these partnerships coming together and finding innovative ways to unlock local sites and help get Britain building again.”

Transport Secretary Justine Greening feels that transport is the key to unlocking the country's economic growth.

“Transport is key to unlocking growth," she said.

“The Growing Places fund will let communities provide the transport links that get people and businesses from A to B.

“This will be crucial in building the balanced and dynamic economy that is essential for our future prosperity.”

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