Unspent Laindon development cash has to be sourced all over again

Almost £800k earmarked for the regeneration of Laindon will have to be sourced all over again after it was given back to the body established to drive economic growth across Essex because it was not spent in time.

The Laindon Place development will see a new high street for Laindon with 25,000 square feet of new retail space, new landscaped public realm, street parking, a new larger supermarket, 224 new homes and an expanded new health centre.

The Getting Building Fund allocation of £790k – part of a £900m Government package for schemes across the country – was awarded to help support the delivery of electric vehicle charging points, installation of shop frontages and delivery of high quality public realm.

But the full GBF allocation distributed via South East Local Enterprise Partnership remains unspent after it was not spent in time. The Laindon Place project has been subject to a number of delays since the GBF funding was awarded, including the need for redesign work due to changes in legislation and delays in securing approval from the Highways Authority and in securing planning consent for the updated designs.

Swan Housing as the delivery partner have now confirmed that due to delays in progressing the wider project, they will be unable to spend the GBF funding on the works sets out in the Business Case within the required timeframe.

However, as the wider regeneration project is still progressing, it is expected that these benefits will still be realised, albeit over a longer time period than expected at the time of Business Case approval, the SELEP board heard.

The £790k will be reallocated through SELEP to other prioritised projects currently being developed.

A spokeswoman for Swan Housing said: Due to the revised timescales for the Laindon Place Regeneration Project, Swan have not been able to claim the SELEP funding awarded to the project.

“However, we will continue to explore further SELEP and other funding opportunities in the future.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter