Upfront funding for onsite infrastructure can be a barrier to the creation of new jobs and homes. As at July 2013 there was planning consent for some 10,000 dwellings across the Greater Norwich area which had yet to commence construction.
The City Deal signed in December 2013 gave City Deal partners the ability to borrow £20 million from the Public Works Loan Board at the project rate discount to establish a Local Infrastructure Fund. This fund will provide loans to developers for site specific help to enable development sites to be delivered quickly, and the fund will be managed on a rolling basis. The overall fund has been established from 1 November 2013 to end March 2026.
The scheme offers developers funding to deliver essential infrastructure, such as roads and transport links, which will in turn unlock developments that may otherwise have been delayed.
It will specifically support infrastructure required to open up sites for housing or employment development, realising sustainable growth in jobs, homes and commercial builds.
A first round for bids in April 2014 received seven expressions of interest. Subsequently, three full business cases were submitted and these were subject to independent financial appraisal and considered by the Greater Norwich Growth Board (GNGB) at its meeting on 31 July 2014. A further full business case, also subject to independent financial appraisal, was considered by the GNGB at its meeting on 8 October 2014.
A second call for bids took place in October 2014 for which two expressions of interest were received. Two full business cases were submitted as part of this process, one of which was a further submission from round one. These business cases were also subject to independent financial appraisal and one was considered by the GNGB at its meeting on 24 March 2015.
A further two expressions of interest were submitted outside a formal call for bids which, after independent financial appraisal, was agreed in principle by the Board on 11 August 2015 and 24 March 2016 respectively.
In total seven applications have been approved in principle, subject to recommendations, to receive LIF funding to date. The approved schemes are:
These schemes will be subject to detailed negotiations before entering into a legal contract with Norfolk County Council, the Accountable Body for the funding. The first legal contract for the development at St. George's Park, Loddon has now been completed.