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pounds 36 million of projects backed by partnership.

The Marches local enterprise partnership has backed bids totalling more than pounds 36 million to the Regional Growth Fund.

The LEP, which covers Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire, estimates the projects could create more than 3,000 private sector jobs and boost the rural economy across the Marches.

The projects seeking funding include: A pounds 5.8 million bid to develop a Centre of Excellence for Food and Drink in the Marches by extending the existing Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre and creating an associated spoke centre at Hereford.

A bid for pounds 2.5 million to upgrade the electricity supply in Whitchurch.

A private bid for pounds 2.1 million from Enterprise HQ in Coalport, with support from public sector partners, to create a network of business and work hubs in market towns.

A pounds 1.1 million bid to develop a marina and wetland nature reserve in Oswestry, along with associated commercial development.

A pounds 2.5 million bid for a Centre of Excellence in Precision Farming at Harper Adams University near Newport.

A bid for pounds 2.5 million to create rural business hubs across the Marches.

The Hereford City Futures Growth package, which is bidding for pounds 20 million, is also endorsed by the Marches LEP and seeks to construct a new link road as part of the redevelopment of the Edgar Street Grid and relocation of businesses to various sites including Three Elms Industrial Estate and new Cattle Market at Stretton Sugwas.

Meanwhile, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, head of Warwick Manufacturing Group, has predicted that money and influence will decide whether local enter-r prise partnerships are a success or not.

Speaking at a Manufacturing Business Network dinner, organised by Crowe Clark Whitehill, he highlighted the amount of competition to access the newlycreated pounds 1 billion-plus growth fund.

Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya Lord Bhattacharyya, who was involved in the creation of the Coventry & Warwickshire LEP, said it was far too early to say whether LEPs would work.

In order to make that happen, extra money would be required after the first year.

"They will need to pressure government to produce more," he said.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 10, 2011
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