GRANTS of £3million are to be sought by Redditch Borough Council to build the new junction on the A4023 for the Eastern Gateway site.
It comes after developer Stoford identified a ‘funding gap’ for the junction – and without the money being stumped up from elsewhere it says the site would ‘not be commercially viable’.
On Tuesday the borough council’s executive committee backed plans to seek grants to pay for the scheme from Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP.
That money should be forthcoming too; both Worcestershire LEP and North Worcestershire Economic Development & Regeneration have branded the Eastern Gateway project a ‘game changer’ while GBSLEP has ‘A’ rated it as critical for the success of the region.
The 63-acre site sits in both Bromsgrove and Stratford districts, roughly split along the line of the A4023, with only a small portion, where the new junction will sit, in Redditch borough.
Offering almost one million sq ft of commercial space the Eastern Gateway it is expected to create 2,000 jobs and bring in £100million in private investment once it is fully occupied.
However it has caused a storm of controversy, particularly in Winyates Green, which will back on to the southern section of the development, and from residents living along the A435 in Mappleborough Green, Studley and Coughton who will have to put up with all the traffic it causes.
If the two LEPs approve the grants work could begin as soon as November 2018.
“I’ve been looking forward to this coming forward and I still hope and think most of the economic gains and jobs will fall in Redditch’s lap,” said Councillor Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill).
He was backed by the controlling Conservative group with committee chair Coun David Bush (Con, West) acknowledging the Eastern Gateway was now a nationally recognised site. The committee unanimously voted in favour of seeking the grants to get it started.