Over 10,000 jobs and growth for 25,000 businesses in Devon and Cornwall is in the pipeline, thanks to a historic 'City Deal' for Plymouth and South West Peninsula
The City Deal which could see £296 million pumped into the region over the next 15 years.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: “City Deal has been a complex negotiation over many months. We needed to play to our strengths and to work out what we wanted from the Government as a peninsula and what we were prepared to commit to in return. The potential returns on this are staggering. Our time has come.”
Through the deal, the peninsula will play to its strengths in the field of marine technology and research. With 14 per cent of the national marine supply chain based in the peninsula, 26,000 people employed in the industry across 12 sites and the location home to global companies such as Babcock Marine, Princess Yachts International, Pipex, Pendennis Ship Yard and Agusta Westland.
The flagship proposal of the deal seeks to unlock land at South Yard in Devonport Naval Base.
Following the signing of this deal Plymouth City Council and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise will begin detailed discussions with the Ministry of Defence over potentially releasing land at South Yard, which could provide a prime location for the marine industry due to its close proximity to other companies in the sector and has access to deep water which is needed for marine research, development, and testing.
In return, the peninsula partners will fund the development and infrastructure needed to clear the way for up to £60 million of private sector investment.
The yard is one of the few sizable sites with deep water access in the South West and will provide the marine sector with facilities to develop technology, manufacture and commercialise products and services. Tailored support services to small and medium- sized enterprises in this sector are also part of the proposal.
The knock-on effects for creating commercial facilities to South Yard are better links with marine assets across the peninsula, such as Falmouth and Appledore.
It will capitalise on expertise and investment, supported by Exeter and Plymouth Universities, which has led to over £100m investment in unrivalled marine research and demonstration facilities including the Wave Hub, the world’s largest consented demonstration area for marine energy technology, the FaB Test nursery site in Falmouth, a world-class hydrodynamic test facility in Plymouth University’s Marine Sciences building and extensive research capability at Plymouth Marine Laboratories.
Substantial business support package Business growth support will be supercharged in the region of £24 million of private and public sector money to help existing businesses flourish here as well as attract new investors.
An array of practical initiatives which fill recognised gaps of support for the area’s 25,000 businesses to ensure their products and services reach the right markets, that companies maximise export opportunities and enjoy tailored support.
It includes expanding the GAIN network using £5.8 million of Regional Growth Funding to encourage businesses of all sizes to tap into local expertise and existing support programmes, and crucially support from the UKTI to encourage businesses to develop export potential.
Investing in the skills of the next generation Over 1,500 young people helped into work, thanks to a package of initiatives which aim to give the next generation skills.
The deal will see the biggest wage progression project in the country with career coaches and intensive support for young people to graduate from learner to earner, tackling the region’s higher than average percentage of young unemployed.
Professor Wendy Purcell, Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University, said: "The City Deal success demonstrates the value of partnership working, bringing together local government with business and harnessing the power of universities to unlock growth in Plymouth and the wider South West.
“With our collective world-class research expertise, in particular here within our Marine Institute, together with our enterprise agenda we are well-placed to create a centre of excellence for marine renewables that will be relevant globally.”
Leader of Cornwall Council John Pollard said: “We head the field in many aspects of marine technology and have excellent facilities across the peninsula as well as companies at the leading edge of this technology. This City Deal helps the private and public sector to work closely together to ensure we remain leaders in this area."
Chief Executive of Heart of the South West LEP, Chris Garcia said: “We have the potential to be truly at the helm of marine developments through the South West Marine Energy Park. This deal starts unlocking the funds, the sites and the commitment from a team of people here in the South West and in Whitehall to make this happen”.
Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver said: “I am very proud to have been part of this effective partnership that has achieved its goal. Torbay and our partners in neighbouring authorities, Plymouth University and the LEP can be proud that the creativity and vision of the City Deal inspired Whitehall to give renewed confidence in the south west; and will enable us to fulfil our potential as a region to be reckoned with.
“Torbay will reap the benefits of this landmark deal through its focus on the marine economy - particularly in Brixham - but with wider momentum that will be felt throughout the Bay - and the improved export activity and business support that will be developed to generate new jobs and investment.
“I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to develop this ambitious strategy into a robust action plan that will deliver real opportunities for growth.”
Devon County Council leader John Hart said: “A huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to achieve this successful outcome and we’d like to thank everyone who contributed. We need to build on these relationships to improve our rates of productivity, encourage more businesses to re-locate to the peninsula and provide practical and continuing support to those that are already here. It is also extremely important that this City Deal provides specific encouragement for our young people to ensure they lead productive and fulfilling working lives.”