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Shropshire is benefiting from a £21.9 million investment in the region thanks to the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Marches LEP has promised to create thousands of new homes and jobs over the next 20 years, a pledge re-iterated at the launch of its annual report in Westminster.

It says it will also invest £7.7 million in the roll-out of superfast broadband to give 77,000 extra homes and businesses high speeds by the end of next year.

Projects in the pipeline include the Newport Innovation and Enterprise Package, bringing 1,070 houses and 954 jobs to the area and the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.

It also helped lever in money for improvements to the A5/A483 junctions on the Oswestry bypass to help the town’s house building schemes.

MPs were at the launch of the annual report along with senior Government officials and leading civil servants.

Chairman of Marches LEP, Graham Wynn, said the partnership had driven economic growth across the region over the last 12 months and had ambitious plans to build on its success over the next year.

“We are pinpointing the key areas which will help the region sustain and develop growth and drawing up a new, Local Industrial Strategy to underpin this plan,” he said.

The partnership has already helped attract £285m of Government, European, public and private sector funding to Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

“In the past 12 months we have secured a fresh grown deal which will see £21.9 million invested in projects to boost the region’s skills,” Mr Wynn said.

“We want to ensure we create a culture of innovation and train our people in the skills needed to deliver on our promise to create thousands of new homes and jobs over the next 20 years.”

Marches LEP is calling on the government to support an integrated transport system. It is contributing £6 million to the Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package, and supporting the Telford bus station scheme.

 “Transport connectivity is the ‘glue’ that binds our communities and the economy together,” Mr Wynn said.

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, one of those at the launch, said the partnership had gone to Westminster in force.

“I am pleased the plans include working with the Welsh Government to improve the A5/A483 corridor that crosses the Shropshire/Welsh border and to improve train services not only between Shropshire/Wales and the Midlands but also the Shropshire to London service.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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