01 April 2021

Dorset LEP successfully delivers major £169m government capital growth programme on time and to budget

Local Growth Fund Project (Histopathology Diagnostic Hub)

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the local body responsible for driving and championing Dorset’s economic growth, is pleased to announce its successful delivery of the Government’s major capital Local Growth Fund programme in Dorset, completed on time and to budget.

Over £169 million, combining £98 million secured by Dorset LEP from the UK Government with public, private and third sector match funding, has now been committed to 54 growth projects across the county. These projects have supported business and economic growth by creating jobs, unlocking prime employment land and commercial space, boosting skills, improving digital and transport connectivity, providing housing, and enhancing Dorset’s rural and visitor economies.

Dorset LEP has been managing this wide ranging programme of growth projects since its launch in 2015, which by 2025 aims to create:

  • 20,119 jobs & apprenticeships 
  • 4,777 houses
  • 75,498 new learners assisted 
  • 26,927 area of new or improved floorspace (m2) 

Cecilia Bufton, Chair of Dorset LEP said: “We are absolutely delighted with our success in completing this major capital growth programme to serve the local economy. We have demonstrated to Government that they can have confidence in us to deliver its national capital growth programmes locally and to great success. Through careful strategic management and effective partnership working we have been able to make a real, positive impact locally and nationally, creating and safeguarding jobs and providing the conditions needed for business and enterprise to thrive and grow. This becomes even more crucial as we work to re-stimulate our local economy and promote Dorset as an attractive place to live, learn and work.”   

The Dorset LEP Local Growth Fund programme has delivered a wide range of economy enhancing improvements for Dorset including: 

  • Improved access into and around Bournemouth Airport and the Port of Poole including a major reconstruction of the A338, economy enhancing improvement works along the A3049 (Wallisdown Road) and A3048 (Ringwood Road), major transport improvements to the main link road into the Port of Poole and the town centre from the A31, as well as enhanced cycling and pedestrian routes supporting sustainable travel
  • The creation of three new Centres of Excellence in Construction, Engineering, and Motor Vehicle Technology at Weymouth College helping to boost further education provision in one of the county’s most deprived areas, supporting local construction and engineering sectors and boosting productivity in Dorset
  • The construction of the new Mary Anning Wing at the Lyme Regis Museum, enhancing learning, exhibition and café space at one of Dorset’s most popular museums
  • New cutting-edge orthopaedic technology, accelerating the global reach of ground-breaking orthopaedic research and a new Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation (including Prosthetics & Cybernetics) at Bournemouth University  
  • Major transport and high street improvement works in Gillingham town centre to support housing and employment in north Dorset
  • Enterprise support for Dorset’s leading creative sector, with the development of a new Innovation Studio and remote accessible resources for students and businesses at Arts University Bournemouth 
  • Vital infrastructure upgrades at Kingston Maurward College, including 5G and superfast broadband rollout and new cutting-edge agritech facilities 
  • A new innovative and highly productive state-of-the-art Agritech Glasshouse growing facility at Stewarts Garden Centre  
  • Plans for a new Defence Innovation Centre at Dorset Innovation Park Enterprise Zone in Wool providing workshop space for MOD innovation and collaboration

Lorna Carver, Director Dorset LEP said: “Through careful portfolio management we were able to make significant savings in the delivery programme along the way, enabling a series of new economic development projects to be fast-tracked and subsequently attracting additional associated match-funding. Our Local Growth Fund projects have already provided an enormous boost to our local economy and we look forward to tracking further results as we help to get the local and UK economy back on its feet.” 

The full list of Dorset LEP Local Growth Fund projects, including details of funding amounts and expected outcomes, can be found on the Dorset LEP website project page.


Notes to editors:

Dorset LEP

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led private and public sector partnership, promoting local economic growth and prosperity. Dorset LEP deliver projects that support and develop infrastructure, housing, skills, enterprise and business growth to achieve long-term economic benefit for all in Dorset. 

For more information visit the Dorset LEP website http://www.dorsetlep.co.uk/

Local Growth Fund

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England.
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.
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