Tuesday 5 November 2013
Funding for the University of Northampton’s new Waterside Campus received a boost this week following approval of two Government loans.
Thanks to applications by South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), HM Treasury has approved Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) funding of £60 million, available through Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council over the next three years.
University bosses were delighted with the news which comes hot on the heels of the Government’s pledge to act as guarantor on any loans for the project.
Professor Nick Petford, vice chancellor of the University of Northampton, said: “We are delighted to secure this vital funding which marks a significant step forward in our plans for the Waterside Campus.
“This announcement, combined with the recent news that we are a step closer to being Treasury-backed, is a reflection of the confidence of the long term economic benefits of the project for both the university and Northamptonshire.”
Northampton Borough Council worked closely with SEMLEP, NEP and the university on the applications and will administer the SEMLEP allocation of the loan while Northamptonshire County Council administers the NEP allocation.
Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “The University’s plans are an integral part of both our Northampton Alive programme of regeneration and the future of the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.
“This news will be a huge confidence boost for private lenders considering investment in the scheme which would create a state-of-the-art campus right on the doorstep of our town centre.
“The University has already submitted an outline planning application for the former Avon Nunn Mills site and remedial works are already under way.
“Northampton is currently outpacing the rest of the country in terms of its economic recovery and we will do all we can to ensure that trend continues.”
Cllr Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “This is excellent news for Northampton and the county as a whole.
“This is the sort of investment that we need in the town centre and essential as the economy continues to recover.
“Northampton is an exciting place to be at the moment with a number of key projects coming online that the County Council has been instrumental in, including the new Northampton Castle Railway Station and our own Project Angel, which will bring a further boost to the town centre economy.”
Two separate applications were submitted, with SEMLEP being awarded £46 million and NEP being awarded £14 million.
The money will be made available in blocks over three years – £10 million in the current financial year, £26 million for 2014/15 and £24 million for 2015/16.
Dr Ann Limb OBE DL, chair of SEMLEP, said: “We are delighted that this loan of £46m will enable the University of Northampton to develop their new campus on the Enterprise Zone.
“SEMLEP views this as a pivotal project contributing to the success of our Enterprise Zone and delivering growth in Northampton and the wider SEMLEP area.”
Sajeeda Rose, deputy chief executive of NEP, said: “We are naturally delighted by the news.”The relocation of the University campus to the Northampton Enterprise Zone is a significant investment to support the growth of the Northampton economy.
“It also endorses the integrity of the collaboration between Northamptonshire partners as well as NEP’s decision to bid to support the relocation through its allocation of Public Works loans borrowing.”
The University hopes to start groundwork at its new site next year with the campus opening in 2018.