Council could win mega £24m funding boost
Published Thursday 30th August 12 in Council - news and information releases news
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has just edged closer to winning a nationwide £24m bid for Government funding.
The Council has reached the final round of the hard-fought cash contest and is one of just 30 Councils battling for the big prize to help develop high tech ways to boost the borough.
As a result, the Council has now been granted £50,000 to conduct a feasibility study to further develop its bid to be a 'Future City Demonstrator' for this special project launched by the Government's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (http://www.innovateuk.org/)
Southend - classified as a city due to its size and population - is up against UK cities and boroughs from Dundee to Brighton, Newcastle to Plymouth and Cardiff to Cambridge.
All the competitors must now show how they could integrate their transport, communications and other infrastructure to improve the local economy, increase quality of life and reduce impact on the environment.
Their feasibility studies and proposals must be submitted by Wednesday 14th November, and the winner will be announced in January 2013.
If Southend wins, the Council will scoop £24million to implement its proposals.
However, even if it doesn't, it will still be able to make great use of the highly specialised and detailed information gained from the feasibility study.
Southend's bid will centre on further developing the technological aspects of current ground-breaking partnership projects in the borough. These include:
- The Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus, which aims to provide one of the world's largest health innovation spaces for companies of all sizes at Southend Airport;
- The Forum Southend-on-Sea - a library and learning hub being delivered jointly Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College
- ReallySmartHouse - a project involving local small and medium-sized businesses in schemes to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy bills for Council tenants
Proposals could range from ways of developing vital data-sharing processes, to giving very detailed transport information for passengers on the move.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council leader, Councillor Nigel Holdcroft said: "It is a terrific achievement to win through to such a crucial stage in the bidding process.
"Reaching this milestone is a tribute to the teamwork of our forward-looking public and private sector organisations in Southend.
"We must now keep up the pace to present the very best case possible for the final stage of the bid."
"In the meantime, the feasibility study will also yield very valuable information for future development strategies."
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: "We planned originally to fund twenty feasibility studies but because of the number of high quality initial proposals received from councils across the whole country we decided to increase the funding available so that thirty studies could be carried out.
"The results will be made public and we look forward to seeing some exciting future city demonstrator proposals."