Torbay Council has submitted a bid to secure up to £20m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to accelerate economic growth locally.
The Levelling Up Fund is central to Government’s ambition to level up the country – investing in high value local infrastructure and building stronger and more resilient local economies and communities. It is especially intended to support investment in places where it can make the biggest difference.
The application, prepared by TDA, focuses on a programme of works that will extend Brixham’s Fish Quay and Market and create a new Electronics and Photonics Production Park. These projects will capitalise on the potential growth of the two sectors leading to more employment opportunities and anticipated private investment.
The application has been supported by both local MPs and more widely across the community, including Torbay Together, representing partners from the business, public and community sectors.
Councillor Swithin Long, Torbay Council Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “Torbay has two strategically important sectors in Electronics and Photonics and Fishing, with both having substantial growth potential which Torbay needs to capitalise on. The projects within our bid highlights our ambitions for Torbay. These projects will create new, higher value jobs and will drive international trade, playing a huge part in levelling up the local economy and bringing positive change for our communities.”
Councillor Mike Morey, Torbay Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, said: “It is great to see two significant Torbay projects bidding for this fund. Brixham’s Fish Market is currently operating at capacity. This investment in Brixham’s harbour and fish market will help secure the future of Brixham’s fishing sector, creating long term sustainable jobs and wider economic benefits for the local community.”
The fishing proposal within this bid will ensure Brixham’s fishing future and sets out how a 2,250m² deck will be created over the sea that will accommodate a 2,000m² fish market, more than doubling the current capacity of 1,435m². This development could allow for an additional £20 million of catch to be processed through the market each year, creating a forecasted additional 160 year-round jobs and more than £38.5 million of additional GVA per year in fishing and associated activities.
An initial screening exercise on the potential environmental impact of the extension to the fish market has been undertaken. This concluded that the project is likely to have limited environmental impact. Torbay Council, through Tor Bay Harbour Authority, will continue to work with government to support environmental improvements in the fishing sector.
The second part of the application centres around the Hi Tech sector, which continues to grow in Torbay, with The Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) being a key part of this success. Creating additional manufacturing space is crucial to capitalise on the success of EPIC and to cement Torbay’s growing international reputation for electronics and photonics; a high value sector that creates skilled, high paid jobs.
Investment in an Electronics and Photonics Production Park will provide new production and manufacturing facilities at Torbay Business Park. This will provide specialist production facilities, deepening innovation, enabling the growth of key businesses in the sector and attracting further inward investment.
The Hi Tech proposal within this bid will create 2,040m² of new production space and provide the infrastructure to unlock further space to enable the future development of approx. 3,700m² additional manufacturing space. The Electronics and Photonics Production Park will help create 57 new jobs initially and a further 87 new jobs in the medium term and £17.5 million in additional GVA.
In addition to the £20 million of Levelling Up Fund Torbay Council is seeking to deliver the bid, an additional £4.79 million will be provided by Torbay Council and over the life of the project, a further £15.2 million of public and private sector investment is anticipated. Combined, the bid will deliver 217 jobs, plus a further 87 long-term sustainable jobs once the Electronics and Photonics Production Park is fully realised. An additional 4,290m² of new business space will be created to accommodate growth and an additional £56 million in additional GVA will be generated.
Vince Flower, Chairman of the TDA, said: “TDA consulted with stakeholders to understand the priority needs and opportunities in Torbay that would drive forward the economy. The priorities identified included the need to extend Brixham Fish Market, to enable more activity and employment, and the need to deliver employment land to enable the growth of local businesses, including a dedicated Electronics and Photonics Production Park to support the growth of this specialist, high-value sector. This application responds to these demands and demonstrates to Government how Torbay can act on the Government’s challenge for places like Torbay to build stronger economies.”
TDA is expecting to learn the outcome of the application in the autumn.