North East Investment Fund hits £58m milestone

North East Investment Fund hits £58m milestone

Over £58m has been pumped into the regional economy to help create jobs and stimulate economic growth thanks to the North East Investment Fund.

The fund, managed by the North East LEP, has granted funds to more than 20 projects using money from the Regional Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund.

One such project was the development of Stephenson Quarter in Newcastle city centre - the largest regeneration project to take place in Newcastle for over 10 years.

Jeremy Middleton, chair of the North East LEP’s investment panel, said: “The North East Investment Fund exists to provide finance to projects which will result in a real boost to the region’s economy, whether that is via the creation of new jobs or through benefits to transport, connectivity and infrastructure.

“It is a loan finance scheme designed to support projects which meet the minimum threshold size and which can repay the loan, making it available to re-invest.

“As well as supporting 22 separate projects, the fund is already well on the way to achieving its goal of creating at least 2,300 new jobs in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham.”

Phase one of the Stephenson Quarter development, which was supported by a £1.7m loan from the fund, included the completion of the 251 room Crowne Plaza Newcastle hotel, the adjacent multi-storey car park and The Rocket – a 35,000 square foot office building.

Support from the City Council and the North East LEP enabled Clouston Group, the developer of the site, to agree funding deals with RBS, Aviva and Galliford Try Construction.

Alan Schofield, financial director at Clouston Group, added: “Funding support from the North East LEP helped create the private sector confidence required to unlock critical investment and drive forward the transformation of this important site.

“This project had stalled during the recession but the combination of funding via the City Deal along with the LEP’s support ensured we were able to get on site in 2013 and deliver phase 1 as promised late last year.”