£100m renewal fund to “cascade jobs down the generations”

A plan for a new £100million fund set to help create around 1,500 jobs and help deliver 1,000 new homes will “cascade jobs down the generations”.

In establishing the Essex Renewal Fund, Essex County Council wants to secure more than £100m of investment into Essex over the next 20 years bringing to market enough land for other parties to deliver new homes for hundreds of families. The plan was agreed at Essex Council County cabinet on April 19.

It adds it will support its commitment to good jobs, future growth and investment, green growth, levelling up the economy, transport and built environment, healthy lifestyles, education outcomes, levelling up families and net-zero.

Following initial seed funding from the council, the fund will eventually become self-financing, allowing the council to continue delivering projects that the property market will not deliver or may not deliver to such high standards.

Councillor Lesley Wagland, cabinet member for economic renewal, infrastructure and planning, said: “From the point of view of job growth of job security there are undoubted opportunities with districts and boroughs to generate skills so that we are able to produce and enhance a pipeline of projects through Essex which means that you will be able to cascade jobs down the generations.”

This will be a revolving fund investing only within the administrative county of Essex – net income and the capital receipts will be reinvested into future fund activity. Capital receipts later in the life of the fund may also be available for use by the council to fund the wider capital programme.

Job growth will come through land and property projects that the market would not deliver or may not deliver to such a high standard if left to its own devices.

This will be funded from a range of sources including revenue funding from the council reserves and capital funding from Essex County Council’s borrowing as well as securing central government grant funding.

The council has identified three types of investment.

The first is development and refurbishment projects where the primary use is non-residential.

The second is development land projects where the council will acquire land and promote a development scheme to influence the location.

Third is quality and uses of developments and income-generating assets where the primary use is nonresidential but where, upon completion, the council chooses to retain the asset for the rental income.

Councillor Chris Whitbread, cabinet member for finance said: “The fund will be revolving, utilising its own rental income and capital receipts in the future.

“It will have a catalytic impact beyond the projects that it supports directly by building confidence in Essex places and markets.

“It will deliver significant benefits for Essex residents and businesses as well as becoming self-sustaining over a period of time.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter