Highways, canals and collaborative working take awards

A plan by Highways England setting out how the country’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads will unlock economic growth and support development has been recognised at the Institute of Economic Development’s inaugural annual awards.

The IED hailed the company’s strategic economic growth plan – ‘The road to growth’ -awarding it the ‘greatest economic impact’ prize at the awards ceremony staged at the IED annual conference on 23rd November.

A project run by Peter Brett Associates LLP to develop and manage a framework to establish the economic and social effects of investment in Scotland’s canal network received the ‘most sustainable outcome’ award, while the Exeter and Heart of Devon Shared Economic Strategy won the ‘most innovative strategy’ award.

An economic development and regeneration project – Strathleven Regeneration Community Interest Company – initiated in the aftermath of the closure of the J&B whisky bottling plant in Dumbarton 17 years ago, resulting in the loss of 470 jobs, won best implementation prize.

Chair of the IED Bev Hurley congratulated Highways England saying: ‘Highways England has made supporting economic growth one of its five strategic priorities and at the same time has set funding aside for innovation, some strategic projects that could unlock growth and produced a planning guide setting out how to work with the organisation.’

More info on Highway England’s growth and housing fund can be found here.

Peter Brett Associates was commissioned by Scottish Canals to create a framework to look at the economic and social effects of investment in the country’s canal network and continues to monitor canal corridor economic and development activity. Reporting has been designed to show the social and economic impacts achieved and forecast through unlocking the economic development potential of Scotland’s canal corridors.

The Exeter and Heart of Devon (EHOD) Shared Economic Strategy defines the joint growth ambitions of four local authorities and their collective aims to increase competitiveness and improve productivity in the area.

The 2017-20 strategy brought together representatives from East Devon, Exeter City, Mid Devon and Teignbridge councils, with each local authority taking ownership of one of four common economic initiatives: business support and transformation; inward investment; strategic planning; and employment and skills.

The focus on collaborative working is already delivering tangible outputs for the local authority areas beyond what could be achieved in isolation – and this collective approach aligns with the national push for joint council working.

Through the Lomondgate project, delivered by what is now Strathleven Regeneration CIC, £106m of capital investment has been attracted to the area against a target of £60m. More than 750 people are now employed in a mix of full-time and part-time roles and over £300m has been generated in the region’s economy by Lomondgate and its businesses including Aggreko, BBC and Whitbread. The remainder of the former site has been redeveloped with 400 new homes by Walker Group, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey.

The IED awarded it the ‘best implementation’ prize – a category which recognises those projects where a strategy has been put in place and executed particularly efficiently and effectively.

David Hastings, chief executive of Strathleven Regeneration CIC, said: ‘Lomondgate is a model for economic development and regeneration which is community-driven and market-led, is based on the strengths of a place and underpinned by a strong, enduring and entrepreneurial partnership across the private, public and third sectors. It has grown to become one of Scotland’s most successful and vibrant developments in a period when property development activity has been at a generational low.’


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