The Loughborough Town Deal is an exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring significant social and economic improvements for residents, communities and local businesses.
A Town Investment Plan outlining a range of projects has been drawn up that will seek to improve skills and boost job prospects, redefine the town centre to ensure it remains well-used and vibrant, improve the local environment and showcase the town’s heritage.
The government invited Loughborough to submit a bid under the Town Deal scheme and a board was formed to lead the project.
The board involves a range of organisations, including Charnwood Borough Council, Loughborough University, Loughborough College, Love Loughborough, Leicestershire County Council, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, Charnwood Together Economy and Skills Group, local businesses and Loughborough MP Jane Hunt.
Following extensive partnership working, research and consultation with residents, local business and other organisations, the Loughborough Town Deal investment plan proposes a range of projects which will:
- Improve skills levels to boost job prospects
- Redefine the town centre to ensure it is well-used and vibrant for the future
- Improve links between the east and west sides of town, from the railway station through to the town centre through to the University and Science and Enterprise Park
- Improve flood defences for the town
- Reduce carbon emissions by encouraging use of electric vehicles
- Unlock areas prime for development for housing, leisure and commercial use
- Build on Loughborough University’s reputation as a centre for innovation, research and sport
- Showcase the town’s unique heritage to attract more visitors to the area by supporting Taylor’s Bell Foundry, Great Central Railway and improving the canal environment
- Improve job and life skills for 5,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds
The University is a key partner to help create an innovation link between the campus, LUSEP – the Science and Enterprise Park – and the town centre. The Loughborough College Skills and Enterprise Hub will be the first step in that direction and already the Towns Fund has awarded Loughborough Town Deal £750,000 to kickstart the joint project with Charnwood Borough Council.
The Council has purchased the former Crawshaws Butchers building in Market Place where the hub will be located. The hub will offer guidance and support to people who want to boost their careers or get in to work. The University will also be involved by providing advice and mentoring to people wanting to start up their own businesses.
Professor Tracy Bhamra, Loughborough University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise), said: “The Town Deal represents a really exciting opportunity to enhance the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of Loughborough and the University is looking forward to working with local partners to drive local growth and regeneration.”
Jo Maher, Principal and CEO of Loughborough College, added: “We are extremely excited that our expert team will be based in the heart of town to help unlock the potential and career aspirations of local people in our community.
“We’re proud to be working with our partners, including Loughborough University, to deliver this ambitious project as part of the Loughborough Town Deal. The Careers and Enterprise Hub perfectly positions the College to support the town’s skills-led recovery from Covid-19.”
The Town Deal is proposing to jointly fund an expansion to Sportpark and bring further sports-related businesses to the region.
Investment is also sought to support a business accelerator scheme to help local companies link in with the University’s incubation and innovation services to help them adapt for a post-Covid world and move more into the knowledge-based sector.
The bid has been submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. It will be assessed before a decision is made, which is expected to be in 2021.
For full details of the Loughborough Town Deal investment plan please see the statement on the Charnwood Borough Council website.
For more information on the bid, including the projects and some frequently asked questions, please visit the Loughborough Town Deal website.