Stoke Staffs LEP

Getting Building Fund

In June 2020, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) was invited by UK Government to put forward ideas for projects that might benefit from a policy intervention. The UK Government response to the ‘call for ideas’ was to create the Getting Building Fund that was designed to support or accelerate established schemes that might be affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. In addition, a tranche of new projects was supported where the case for intervention was clearly established and business cases sufficiently advanced to enable delivery of the projects within an 18 month timescale.

Specifically, Government was looking for shovel-ready capital projects which could be delivered within 18 months.
Nationally, the size of the Getting Building Fund pot totals £900 million.
The overarching objectives of the fund are to drive economic growth, create new jobs and support green recovery. This includes funding to enable:
• town and city centre modernisation through targeted infrastructure investments unleashing their longer-term economic potential;
• investment in physical connectivity to improve the functioning of the local economy;
• investment in innovation ecosystem including through improvements to research and development facilities driving up business productivity;
• improvements to human capital; and
• improving digital connectivity, in order to support economic performance, particularly in more isolated areas.
SSLEP was provisionally allocated £23.7 million Getting Building Fund subject to business case appraisal, to be spent by 31st March 2022.

Watch: to hear Chairman Alun Rogers talk about the importance of our Getting Building Fund projects.

Which projects will be supported by the Getting Building Fund?

The Getting Building Fund focuses on projects that can progress quickly but will also stimulate and boost economies in some of the areas most economically impacted by COVID-19. Our supported projects have good strategic fit with our Local Industrial Strategy core themes of Place, Innovation, Growing Business and Future Workforce.

Projects will support the delivery of new enterprise and innovation space, investment in digital skills for young people and improvements to transport infrastructure which will unlock new housing sites and enable increased, active travel, helping to facilitate a green recovery.

Find out more about  the 11 projects that were initially selected, subject to delivery of full business cases and funding approval.

How were the projects selected?

As part of the initial ‘Call for Ideas’ stage, the LEP Secretariat collated a long-list of approximately 60 reference projects from across the LEP geographical area and submitted these along with initial spend profiles and headline information as requested by UK Government. Following the subsequent establishment of the Getting Building Fund and associated criteria, the LEP Secretariat commissioned its technical advisors (Hatch Regeneris) to prioritise the reference projects aligned to the indicative spend profile of the provisional funding envelope of £23.7m.

Hatch Regeneris provided technical assessments based on a range of criteria (e.g. was planning permission in place, could the project be delivered within the timescales required to access the funding, etc) and made recommendations to the LEP Secretariat and the LEP’s Strategic Programme Management Board. A contingency list was also produced to draw on should any of the shortlisted projects not progress as envisaged (4 of these contingency schemes have now been approved by MHCLG and added to the programme, pending contracting). UK Government provisionally agreed the LEPs shortlist of projects on 4 August 2020 subject to more detailed individual business case submissions and subsequent appraisal and approval by the LEP in the Autumn/Winter (see links below for the individual project approval meeting dates via the Strategic Programme Management Group SPMG).

How do we approve the business cases and award funding?

Whilst 11 projects were initially identified for Getting Building Fund, each project was then required to develop a detailed business case, to be scrutinised by the SSLEP’s Independent Technical Evaluator. Funding approval was then sought from SPMG. Funding has subsequently been allocated to 14 SSLEP schemes, plus investment in the D2N2 Drakelow Park scheme.

Keeping up to date

We will regularly update the information below for each of the GBF projects, keep an eye on our news feed and Twitter accounts as well.  Many of the projects are complete or well underway.

Drakelow Park (£5.05m)

A strategic development in South Derbyshire that will accommodate housing and employment .The scheme has transport implications for East Staffordshire and the project will deliver a new road bridge that will facilitate the development.

Forecast outputs (to be claimed by D2N2):  2,000 houses and 30 hectares of employment land.

MHCLG approved the request to de-allocate £5.05m from SSLEP and reallocate it directly to D2N2.  SSLEP will be acknowledged as a co-investor but D2N2 will manage the scheme from the LEP perspective; this de-risks the scheme for SSLEP and allows D2N2 more control to manage the scheme efficiently.

The transfer agreement has been completed and £5.05m GBF funding was transferred to Derbyshire County Council/D2N2 LEP on 08/02/2022.

Innovation Centre Seven (IC7) (£6.1m)

Innovation Centre Seven construction has been hampered by weather (storm Arwen), the pandemic, the presence of a third badger sett and steel supply chain issues. As a result of these delays the building is currently forecast to reach full GBF grant spend in June 2022. Due to good progress in Q4, forecast slippage into Q1 22/23 has now reduced to £1,871,502 .This will form part of the S151’s Freedoms and Flexibilities.

Latest update (May 2022):

  • Significant progress on building with both cladding and glazing to the external elevations of the
    building being well progressed and roof light and roof top plant room completed.
  • IT / AV OJEU procurement launched, seven tenders received with evaluation underway.
  • IC7 revenue project manager inducted and commenced development of revenue programme
  • Preparations for the building reaching practical completion are well advanced and the University is in advanced negotiations with an organisation who would be an anchor tenant taking the entirety of the first floor space. Furthermore the University is in detailed dialogue with a number of other organisations that are looking to occupy part of the second floor.

Creative Lab (formerly known as New Enterprise Collaboratory) (£500K)

The Creative Lab will accelerate and strengthen the creation, survival and growth of business start-ups through access to specialist equipment, co-working environment and wider enabling facilities and support within Staffordshire University’s Innovation Enterprise Zone.

Forecast outputs: 147 m2 commercial floorspace; 44 jobs created; 22 businesses assisted; 600 collaboratory users.

Latest update: The construction, networking and digital infrastructure for this space is now complete. 147sqm of floorspace has been delivered.

R&D space (total of 30sqm) has been delivered and the following equipment installed:

  • Metal laser cutter
  • Colour 3D printer
  • Ceramic 3D printer
  • 4 x Mac Pro + Pro Display
  • 2x PC workstations
  • 6x Wacom Cintiq 32″

Both commercial and R&D space has been utilised by staff and collaborators since September 21.  The University has hosted and facilitated more than 90 users and supported 9 start-ups through various methods of delivery that this facility offers.

‘Powering Up’ Enterprise (£2.45m)

The city council will lead on re-purposing and refurbishing underused and vacant floor space, to create Enterprise Centres which will provide appropriate, modern and digitally enhanced workspace.

Forecast outputs (revised): 2,756 m2 commercial floorspace; 60 businesses assisted; 289 jobs created; 34 construction jobs

Latest update (May 2022): The project is made up of five schemes.  SPMG have agreed to SoTCC’s request to remove CoRE from the portfolio of projects (ratified by Board) in order to deliver the remaining 5 schemes.

  • Both Smithfield and Clayworks sites are now complete.
  • £250K of Heritage funding has been secured to support the Spode No 5 site
  • The City is contributing match of £850,000 towards the programme
  • Contracts have been awarded for Swann House, Spode No 5 and Longton Town Hall.
  • Spode Building 5 commenced on site Mar 22 due to complete Sept 22.
  • Swann House commenced on site Apr 22 due to complete Aug 22
  • Longton Town Hall due to commence May 22 and due to complete Sept 22. Some slippage to Q1 22/23.


I54 Western Expansion (£3m)

The i54 Western Extension is set to expand the existing premier employment site i54 South Staffordshire, which is recognised as being of regional and national importance and one of the most successful Enterprise Zone locations in the country.

Key attributes of the expansion site are direct motorway access and a development platform capable of accommodation 1 million square feet of floor space.

Outputs are to be claimed under the LGF grant funding programme, which has also provided funding for the scheme.

Latest update (January 2022):

Main Earthworks component was completed in August 2021.

Some ancillary works including plot servicing (power and gas supply) and landscaping continue along with proposed end user occupation.

Elements Europe submitted a reserved matters planning application on  25th November for their plot which should accommodate a building of circa 500,000 square feet. The employment from the Elements plot is to be confirmed.

Advanced discussions with another international manufacturing business which would occupy the remainder of the Western Extension continue.

The scheme is due to complete at the end of May 2022.

Health Innovation Centre (£2.89m)

The Health Innovation Centre has been designed in collaboration with industry experts to meet modern demands and challenges in the sector and will use the latest medical techniques and methods to train the next generation of skilled nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

Forecast outputs: 1,230 m2 training floorspace; 115 jobs over 10 years; 500 learners trained over 10 years

Latest update (May 2022): The Centre for Health Innovation (CHI) obtained practical completion on 11th February 2022. Prior to this all M & E & AV commissioning were successfully signed off by the University’s Estates Team. The University is now in receipt of the final building certifications from Building control and minor defects have been highlighted for rectification.

  • The School of Health have fully occupied the building and fully using all the Immersion, CAE and AV equipment to its full potential.
  • On 25th March 2022 the University hosted a successful opening event for Staff and external members to officially celebrate the grand opening of the CHI. At the opening local organisations, neighbouring Universities plus the Lord Lieutenant and Conservative MP Theo Clarke attended the event with great enthusiasm. The grand plaque unveiling was then opened by Mark Radford CBE – Chief Nurse & deputy CEO of the NHS who formally opened the building.
  • Minor defect rectification is on-going – some match funding has been reserved for final payments against the project and contingency.
  • Estates and branding team are now in the process of installing new directories signage to fully connect the existing buildings with the new atrium and rear extension.Total of £2661,647 match reported – remaining match of £227,853 reserved for final payments against the project and contingency.

Skills Equipment Fund – Digital Skills Academy (£550k)

South Staffordshire College has transformed digital training and education, with the delivery of a range of internationally recognised digital programmes.

Forecast outputs: 57 jobs created; 43 businesses assisted.

Latest update: Scheme has completed.  600 sqm of learning/training floorspace has been delivered.  Project launched 20.9.21, Cannock; 24.9.21 Tamworth.  Forecast outputs are for KPIs at September 2022.  KPIs for learners are reported after one full academic year.  (KPIs will also be monitored and reported at 5 academic years).  New learners forecast is for learners achieving a full qualification.

Skills Equipment Fund – Creative and Digital Industries (£250K)

The Creative and Digital Industries (CDI) scheme incorporates the completion of the remodelling and refurbishment of the New Library Building at Stoke-on-Trent College. This will create a collaborative learning space for the development of digital skills.

Forecast outputs: 30 jobs created; 5 jobs safeguarded; 5 businesses assisted

Latest update: Scheme completed.  GBF and match spend complete. Project launch scheduled for 4th May 2022.  170m2 of learning floorspace delivered.  Forecast outputs are for KPIs at September 2022.  KPIs for learners are reported after one full academic year.  (KPIs will also be monitored and reported at 5 academic years).New learners forecast is for learners achieving a full qualification.

Skills Equipment Fund – The Construction Industry Digital Technologies (CIDT)  (£120K)

The funding will create a hub for the creative digital and digital construction market. Through the remodelling of the New Library Building a new collaborative learning space will be created, ensuring that local people and employers have the best chance to develop the very latest skills and techniques in construction technologies that employers in the local area require.

Forecast outputs: 60 jobs created; 1 job safeguarded; 5 businesses assisted.

Latest update:  Scheme completed.  Awaiting details of project launch.  Forecast outputs are for KPIs at September 2022. KPIs for learners are reported after one full academic year.  (KPIs will also be monitored and reported at 5 academic years). New learners forecast is for learners achieving a full qualification.


Shire Hall Regeneration Project (£1.6m)

The County Council will re-purpose the hall and give it a new use which will see a knock-on effect of helping to re-generate the town centre. The building will be sympathetically re-modelled to become a business start-up hub in the former library area, high quality events space in the Assembly Hall, a food and drink offer in the vaults, with museum and exhibition space in the court rooms.

Forecast outputs: 12,000 m2 commercial floorspace; 5 businesses assisted; 60 jobs created; 14 construction jobs

Latest update (May 2022): The main contractor went into liquidation just as the works were due to commence in July 2021. An alternate contractor was appointed in Aug 2021, commenced works in December 2021. Despite this delay, and uncertainties generated by the COVID pandemic, the project is on track to be delivered within the £2m project budget.

  • In general the programme is very much on track for an early June 2022 completion.
  • Marketing Programme delivery ongoing including showing potential occupiers around together with extensive media coverage including business and construction media
  • Regeneration of Shire Hall highlighted in PMQs on 30th March
  • Sign erected on Shire Hall railings including imagery and QR code to access/download information on features, terms and conditions of occupancy etc.
  • High levels of interest from potential businesses looking to locate to Shire Hall; the Chambers of Commerce has already signed up to be one of the first occupiers.
  • Some slippage of GBF spend is forecast to be carried forward to Q1 2022/23, but will be spent by early June 2022.
  • An official opening ceremony is planned for 18th July 2022 which will also include an open day event with guided tours, access to show offices and digital demonstrations. The Assembly Hall at the front of the Shire Hall will be open to the public to view displays and exhibitions of the Shire Hall Enterprise Hub and other regeneration proposals for Stafford town centre.


Staffordshire Local Sustainable Transport Project (£651k)

A package of six sustainable transport schemes in Tamworth, Biddulph, Burton-upon-Trent, Uttoxeter, Eccleshall and Burntwood delivering walking and cycling provision to facilitate a green recovery.

Forecast outputs: 3.6km walkways/cycleways created

Latest update (May 2022): The Uttoxeter, Eccleshall, Tamworth, Biddulph and Burntwood schemes have been completed and construction is due to commence shortly on the Burton scheme.

Reported a three month delay in the delivery of the A444 Burton-Swadlincote cycle route, due to the following reasons:

  • The scheme has secured an additional local contribution of £150,000 from DfT Paths for Everyone fund, managed by Sustrans.  This means that we can now deliver a better scheme along the A444 that meets new Government guidelines provided in LTN 1/20 that were published in July 2020. The enhancement of the scheme and the need to meet Sustrans approval processes has caused some delays to delivery
  • Lead-in times on construction, related to COVID-19

Securing the additional funding from Path for Everyone has had the added benefit of increasing our forecast local contribution from £208,000 to £358,000.

Outputs: 1.1Km of cycling/pedestrain enhancements have been reported in Q4 20/21 (Uttoxeter, Eccleshall, Tamworth). A further 1.5Km of cycling/pedestrain enhancements have been reported in Q4 21/22 (Biddulph and Burntwood). A small amount of slippage into Q1 22/23.


Contingency schemes now being progressed:

Skills Equipment Fund – JCB Automation and Robotics Suite (£172k)

The suite will enable the expansion of curriculum in both the mechanical and electronic sector from level 1 to level 3. The facility will provide a bureau of specialist knowledge and equipment and will allow smaller employers access to emerging technologies and advice.

Forecast outputs: 31 jobs created; 30 businesses assisted; 36 learners assisted

Latest update: Scheme is complete – outputs in progress. Awaiting details of project launch.


Church Street Gaming Hub (£190k)

With a strong focus on the more innovative area of game streaming platforms, the hub will provide educational and training support for video game development and programming across the community, offering digital skill opportunities for those upskilling, for school leavers and NEETS, as well as opportunities for graduate internships and provision of an ideal environment as an incubator for business start-ups.

Forecast outputs: 290m2 commercial floorspace; 5 jobs created; 20 new learners (not FTE).

Latest update (May 2022):

  • Design Freeze – Mar 2022 – Completed
  • Pre-Tender Cost Estimate based on revised scheme – Apr 2022 – Completed
  • Planning submission – May 2022
  • Prepare tender documents – May 2022
  • Tender period starts – June 2022
  • Evaluate tenders – July 2022
  • Appoint contractor – August 2022
  • Construction starts – Sept 2022
  • Practical completion – Dec 2022

Some GBF has been spent in Q4 but there will be some slippage to Q1 22/23.

SoTCC have a strategy to expend the remaining LEP grant monies by end of Quarter 1 through professional fees, preliminary works and equipment/furniture purchases.

Cleveland Future Skills Hub (£159.5k)

Provision of refurbished facilities enabling more flexible education areas – providing greater capacity and improved resilience for the delivery of training courses. (e.g. in Covid-secure teaching arrangements).  Phase 1 will deliver digital elements including digital and creative skills (e.g. Cyber Security, Digital Support, Software development, IS Solutions).

Forecast outputs: 1,184 m2 commercial floorspace; 20 x apprenticeships; 25 traineeship starts; 10 work experience placements

Latest update (May 2022):  Costs have increased and this scheme asked if the LEP would consider allocating additional GBF to the scheme. Two schemes which had directly approached the LEP for additional funding were invited to bid for a small amount of unallocated GBF funding. SPMG approved allocation of an additional £34,000 to this scheme.  Additional match funding has also been added.  The renovations works and decorating are now complete.  A launch event has been scheduled.


GBF Forecast Outputs