£2m loan to kickstart
regeneration scheme

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A LOAN of £2m has been awarded to Yorkshire Design Services to regenerate contaminated land near Leeds city centre, the first allocation by city chiefs from a newly- launched £26m pot of funding.

The aim of the fund, launched in September by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is to kick-start stalled investment in infrastructure projects.

The cash, from the public purse via the Government’s Growing Places Fund, comes in the form of loans. Fund managers want to see evidence that the loans will create long-term improvements to the city region’s GVA, a key measure of economic well-being.

The loan to Yorkshire Design Services will be used to prepare the site for development, including a £43m data centre, on part of the former Yorkshire Chemicals land in Hunslet. This has recently received planning permission and has been described as the largest independent facility of its kind outside London. It is thought that 48 jobs will be directly created and another 200 could result from the development of the whole site.

Neil McLean, chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, said: “We are proud to invest the first £2m of these funds in the regeneration of an important site that will help deliver first class digital infrastructure in the city region.

“This is about the delivery of targeted investment that can help kickstart infrastructure development in the city region.

“The revolving character of the fund will ensure returns will keep on being reinvested to new projects, giving our businesses and economy more opportunities to grow.”

A further four loans have been offered to other city region businesses and other loans will be made available in 2013.