New £60 million fund planned to boost business and housing investment
A new £60 million fund is set to be created to continue Telford & Wrekin Council’s support and investment in new businesses and houses for rent.
As part of its budget plans, the Council is proposing to set up a new growth fund to run over the next four years.
This would support investment into two key areas which will help create new Council owned assets while also earning a return and covering costs.
It will be split between investing in new Council owned premises to let for businesses and building new homes for private rent and some at affordable rent.
The Council has a strong track of building new business premises to meet growing demand for ready-to-use business units from firms wanting to move to or expand in the borough.
It has, for example, over the last four years built a number of new business units in areas such as the T54 and Hortonwood West sites helping attract new businesses and bringing hundreds of new jobs to the borough.
The fund would also be used to support the continued growth of the Council-owned homes for private rent company Nuplace. This could see it double the size of its operation in the borough over the next four years.
Nuplace has already built over 329 new homes for rent in the borough with more than 800 tenants, while helping to regenerate brownfield sites and drive up landlord standards in the borough. It is expected to earn the Council an extra £1.17m this year. The number of Nuplace homes is expected to hit 420 by the end of 2020.
The £60 million fund would be made possible by the Council borrowing money and income from rents would cover the costs of borrowing and repayments, while also earning the Council extra income to help provide key services such as social care.
At the same time the Council would increase the value of its assets, as it would own the new business units and homes which should increase in future years.
The plans are part of the Council’s budget proposals and would build on an existing £50m Growth Fund established in 2015 which is now almost fully allocated. This Growth Fund is due to earn the Council an extra £3 million a year in additional income after costs – money that is helping to fund essential social care services for vulnerable children and adults.
Cllr Lee Carter, cabinet member for Finance said: “This would be a win win for the borough, providing a further boost to our strong economy while earning the Council new income to support social care.
“Extra investment for Nuplace would see more quality homes for private rent, where demand already outstrips supply. It will regenerate brownfield sites, boost employment and set higher standards for landlords to follow.
“Similarly we know there’s huge demand from growing businesses for new premises in the borough and this would capitalise on this.
Council leader Shaun Davies added: “We’re ideally placed to meet the demand from business who want to come here, expand and grow in Telford and Wrekin.
“This will create more jobs and opportunities for our residents, while also earning the Council extra income through more business rates and rental income, providing vital extra funding for services such as social care.”
The Council’s budget also proposes an extra investment totaling £30 million spread over the next four years and includes:
•£16 million for improvements to roads, footpaths, bridges and other structures
•£5 million for regeneration of borough town High Streets including Dawley, Ironbridge, Madeley, Newport, Oakengates and Wellington.
•£5 million for a range of environmental improvements
•£4 million for initiatives to include reducing the Council’s carbon footprint and supporting climate change projects. This follows the Council declaring a climate emergency, and pledged to go carbon neutral by 2030, as well as removing single-use plastics by 2023.