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£1.7M from LEP drives Stephenson Quarter

Finance has been secured to unlock the potential of a groundbreaking £200m development in central Newcastle, after more than £1.7m was awarded to the scheme from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s North East Investment Fund.

The Stephenson Quarter development, adjacent to Newcastle’s Central Station, will transform ten acres of the city by bringing residential, commercial and retail facilities together with hotels and creative space.

Earlier this month Silverlink announced RBS and Aviva funding, backed by Newcastle City Council. The LEP’s North East Investment Fund, which includes support from the Growing Places Fund and the Regional Growth Fund, provides the pivotal first step in the development by funding the infrastructure which underpins the development.

The regeneration project will bring huge economic benefits to the city and wider North East, and will create more than 2,000 jobs.

Work will now start on the first phase of the ten-acre gateway development, which includes a Crowne Plaza Hotel, offices and car park, after Silverlink secured £1.7m from the North East Investment Fund.

The multi-million pound North East Investment fund, which is managed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, includes Growing Places funding designed to kick start growth by unlocking infrastructure, housing and economic development schemes which have stalled in the economic climate. The evergreen fund reinvests loans to help fund further projects.

Silverlink, the developer of Stephenson Quarter, hailed the North East Investment Fund as key to enabling them to progress the entire development, the first phase of which will complete with the hotel opening in 2015.

Other partners for Stephenson Quarter are Newcastle City Council, RBS, Aviva and Miller Construction.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Newcastle’s City Deal is unleashing massive potential, unlocking investment in infrastructure schemes that have stalled. The £1.7 million funding from the North East Investment Fund is leveraging £250 million of investment and will see Newcastle and the North East benefit from 2,000 jobs – a significant and sustainable boost for economic growth.

“City Deals are a quiet revolution in the way Britain is governed. Rather than London laying down the law, cities like Newcastle are getting the right to do things their way.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “I’m delighted that the North East Investment Fund has boosted the Stephenson development which will create thousands of jobs right in the centre of Newcastle.

“This is a shining example of what Local Enterprise Partnerships can deliver by working closely with businesses and councils. Combining local knowledge ensures that every pound of funding is spent carefully and in a way which helps economic growth and creates job opportunities in the area.”

Alan Schofield, finance director of Silverlink, said: “We have worked closely with the North East LEP since the initial plans were drawn up for Stephenson Quarter, and we are very grateful for its support in allowing us to access the NEIF finance.

“The financing of this infrastructure work was vital to enable the rest of the development to commence – in effect, this has helped us to unlock the potential of the whole project, and the huge economic benefits and 2,000 jobs in total this will lead to.”

Paul Woolston, chair of the North East LEP investment panel, said: “Stephenson Quarter is a hugely significant regeneration project, with massive economic potential for the North East region as a whole. We are very pleased the North East Investment Fund has enabled work to begin, and help in the creation of this vibrant development and thousands of jobs.”

“The LEP welcomes enquiries from businesses and developers looking for flexible loan finance to expand their operations, build new premises, undertake housing and industrial or commercial developments.”

Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246