Borderlands Partnership Conference Success

It is anticipated that delivery of schemes under the £394.5million Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will start next year - delegates at the second Borderlands Conference have been told.

The hugely successful and oversubscribed conference at Slaley Hall in Northumberland showcased the steps the partnership has taken so far on this unique Deal and gave stakeholders the opportunity to participate and influence the next steps.

Earlier this year the five councils which make up the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal signed the ‘Heads of Terms’, securing £85m from the Scottish Government, £265m from UK Government and £44.5m from the local authorities.

The Borderlands Partnership includes Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council. This is proving to be a positive, progressive collaborative partnership, removing country and regional borders attendees were told.

The event attracted more than 300 delegates, who heard that detailed work is now taking place on business cases, which would then need to be approved by government before money is released for projects - with delivery scheduled to start next year.

The organisers main message – ‘The Borderlands Area is open for business’

 

Specific funding has been confirmed for some projects, including £8 million for a Dairy Innovation Centre in Dumfries and Galloway, £10 million to support natural capital innovation across the Borderlands region, £19 million for the Mountain Biking Innovation Centre at Glentress in the Borders, £15 million for Carlisle Station in Cumbria,  £5 million for Alnwick Garden in Northumberland. A feasibility study into the extension of the Borders Railway from Carlisle to Tweedbank will also be funded to the tune of £10 million.

The Deal will also mean an investment of £31 million in green energy projects, with much needed improvements in digital and mobile connectivity across the region. The importance of towns will be the focus of a place investment programme linked to  Destination and Business Infrastructure investments. There will also be £7 million to develop key skills needs to boost the visitor economy in the South of Scotland.

Director at the Northern Powerhouse Henri Murison also addressed the conference and said the cross-border deal would allow local authorities to work together to lever funding which would benefit all their communities.

A spokesperson for the Borderlands Partnership said: “The fact more than 300 delegates attended from across the north of England and south of Scotland shows how much passion and commitment there is for this deal. We still face challenges, but we need to send home the message: the Borderlands economy isn’t broken, it’s just different and requires investment.”

There was a series of workshops covering place and destination, energy, digital, business infrastructure and natural capital which was a great opportunity to share ideas and help shape the final deal.

It is anticipated the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will deliver an extra 5,500 job opportunities, attract over four million extra tourists and unlock investment in towns across the area, boosting the region’s economy by £1.1 billion.