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Checkley to benefit from £5 million growth pot for roads

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CHECKLEY is set to receive benefit from a growth pot of £5 million to regenerate the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is setting up the fund, which is aimed at delivering new employment land through the provision of new roads and infrastructure.

Following calls for the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to bring vacant homes back to life, executive director of the council Dai Larner has said the money could help bring derelict properties back into use.

Funding for the growth project will be raised from European money, the Communities Mean Business LEADER Programme, Prudential Borrowing, along with a Government assisted area funding programme.

Mr Larner said the growth fund was a new way of financing local government.

He said: "Parts of the A50 corridor are a Government assisted area where companies could have high periods of grants.

"Three wards including Checkley are likely to get Government assisted funding.”

The funding, which could achieve a leverage of up to £10 million, would also be available to help small and medium companies across the district.

In a report to councillors Mr Larner said: "There are a number of specific instances of market failure in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

"These include a shortage of modern business units, derelict, vacant and under used former mill buildings which contribute to the sense of place/heritage, but are in generally poor condition and have not come forward for development and reuse, along with the lack of infrastructure.

"The Prudential Borrowing Code allows councils to borrow to invest in fixed assets, as long as they can show that the borrowing is prudent."

Councillor Andrew Hart said the proposed scheme was like the Ascent project between the district council and Moorlands Housing to build more than 400 new properties across the area.

He said: "European money is available and we should take advantage of it. This should go ahead successfully."

Councillor Kevin Jackson said this was something the council needed to do.

He said: "Regeneration does take some time to get going. We would have to be careful not to support the things that were already going ahead. The most important part is the infrastructure."

Mr Larner added: "This fund, which is linked to regeneration priorities, could draw in even more money. There are public funds available and this will provide access.

"Direct returns can be achieved from repayment of loans, rent or sale of developed assets, like business units, and from the sale of land serviced by the fund.

"In addition the council will receive income from business rate retention, Right to Buy receipts, New Homes Bonus and s106 agreements through planning applications."

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