As many as 5,500 jobs and £367m of investment could come to Cumbria if Ministers buy into an ambitious growth plan for the county.
Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has drawn up proposals for Growth Deal 3, the latest funding round for projects aligned with regional strategic economic plans.
The plans will be submitted to Whitehall at the end of the month and will provide an acid test of new Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge to bring prosperity to the regions.
Key projects being prioritised include major investments in nuclear technology, agriculture, tourism, skills, site and transport infrastructure, improving connectivity and flood resilience.
As well as bringing jobs and levering in millions of pounds worth of private-sector investment, they would develop more than 600,000sq metres of business space.
Graham Haywood, director of Cumbria LEP, said: “Cumbria has been the fourth fastest growth area in the UK over the last decade, and approximately £25bn of new investment is planned here over the next decade.
“The county is also responsible for nationally significant assets which are vital to the success of the UK economy.
“Our high-level bid is of course subject to ongoing discussion and negotiation – and it is a step up from previous levels.”
The LEP is initially seeking £165m of investment to support a pipeline of transformational proposals to boost the local economy.
Whitehaven Town Centre North
Upgrades to coastal railway and A595, 46 new homes and development of business workspace.
Carlisle Station Gateway and the Citadels
A transformative, mixed use regeneration scheme including hotel, retail, residential and business workspace to attract private sector investment.
Innovative and integrated means of moving people, sustainable transport improvements and improving the visitor experience.
Skills Capital Programme
Funding projects to enable delivery of Cumbria Skills Investment Plan and support area based reviews for improvements to the provision of post 16 education.
Flood Resilience Programme
To ensure delivery of improvements focused on increasing business flood resilience and restoring investment confidence.
Growing our Potential
To boost business productivity and innovation through provision of grants and loans, aligned with specialist business support through the Cumbria Growth Hub, and for the further roll out of broadband and digital technology across Cumbria.
Measures to enable development of employment site and supply chain investment.
North Gateway Workington Development
Rail improvements to support major energy sector and open up new employment sites with development of new workspace.
Nuclear Technology Innovation Gateway
New academic research centre, laboratories and offices for National Nuclear Laboratory.
Upgraded A590 junction near Ulverston, new jobs and homes.
Investment in activities to increase productivity and create a more sustainable long term future for the rural economy.
Tourism Growth Programme
Investment in attractions to boost Cumbria’s appeal as a destination and increase visitor numbers, with a particular focus on higher spending international visitors.
Mr Haywood added: “Whilst the funding figures we are submitting are ambitious and represent a significant commitment, we have also clearly set out the wide range of economic benefits they will bring.
"We must do all we can to maximise the potential for economic growth in the county.”
The current Growth Deal means £47.7m being invested in Cumbria up to 2021 and the Government is expected to announce its allocations for Growth Deal 3 bids later in 2016.
Mr Haywood said: “All of these projects will contribute to the delivery of the ambitions set out in our Strategic Economic Plan.
“A successful Growth Deal 3 bid would give us even stronger foundations to contribute to Cumbria's economic success and build on our existing strengths in manufacturing, nuclear, tourism, agriculture and logistics.”
Subscribe to our newsletter: get a glimpse of what it's really like to live and work in Cumbria.