Issue details

12/01908 - Growing Places Fund: Agreement to enter loan for infrastructure to unlock economic activity

Background and decision

Government has allocated £32.5 million from the Growing Places Fund to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). This will create a recyclable fund to pay for infrastructure that will unlock employment and housing delivery.


Following a call for projects in January, the LEP has awarded funding to five projects in Kent, subject to due diligence. These are: A28 Matalan Roundabout (Ashford), EbbsfleetValley/Southfleet Road (Dartford), Dartford Town Centre, Dartford Northern Gateway and the Live Margate housing renewal programme (Thanet). The total value of these schemes is £16 million.


It is proposed that KCC should decide to act as the accountable body in borrowing Growing Places Funding from the central LEP fund to support these schemes, subject to full due diligence.


Links to Bold Steps for Kent and corporate objectives

This decision supports the following priorities in Delivering Bold Steps

·        Priority 8: Respond to key regeneration challenges, working with our partners

·        Priority 9: Support new housing growth that is affordable, sustainable and with the appropriate infrastructure

·        Priority 10: Deliver Growth without Gridlock


Impact, costs and risks of proposed decision

Combined, the five Kent schemes approved by the LEP could deliver around 1,600 homes and 1,100 jobs by 2016/17, and would also unlock housing and employment growth in future years.


There main risks are:

·        Risk of failure to repay funding according to the timetable set out in the funding agreement

·        Risk of non-delivery of housing or employment outputs (including through continuing adverse market conditions)

·        Compliance with state aid regulations in using public funding to support the delivery of private sector development schemes


These risks will be fully considered through the due diligence process before proposals are brought for decision.


The main costs will be in monitoring and reporting delivery. It is anticipated that these will be incorporated within the loan agreement.


Growing Places Fund is expected to be offered at zero interest unless interest is required in order to comply with state aid restrictions (in which case, it will be paid by the developer).


Decision type: Key

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 31/12/2012

Decision due: Not before 1st Mar 2013 by Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development

Department: Strategic & Corporate Services

Contact: Email: Tel: 01622 221312.

Consultation process



Consultation on the schemes proposed for Growing Places Fund took place with the KentDistricts and Kent Forum in advance of the LEP’s decision to allocate funding.


There are no further requirements to consult on the distribution of Growing Places Fund overall, although there may be requirements to consult on individual schemes.


Has the matter already been discussed by a Cabinet Committee?



If not when will it be discussed by the Cabinet Committee and the date of the meeting

Economic Development Cabinet Committee – 5 July


Is the matter referred to in your Business Plan or Medium Term Capital Programme?



Which Members and electoral Divisions are affected by this proposed decision?

Proposed schemes will affect Members representing divisions in Ashford, Dartford and Thanet. Indirectly, all Members will be affected by the proposed decision, due to future recycling of Growing Places Fund to potentially benefit further projects in Kent.


Financial implications: Ross Gill - Economic Strategy and Policy Officer Economic Development 01622 221312 -

Legal implications: 12/01908

Equalities implications: Yes – involves commitment to expenditure of over £1 million outside of current business plan.


  • Report to Local Enterprise Partnership Board, 18 March 2012