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Local Growth Fund investment summary

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has agreed three Growth Deals with government, worth a capital investment of £142,560,000 from the Local Growth Fund (LGF). This is ring-fenced to implement specific projects in the Strategic Economic Plan between 2015/16 and 2020/21. This document provides an easy-to-reference summary of all the projects that will benefit from LGF investment, their status, the delivery partner, main contractor, total cost of scheme and the benefits of the investment.

West Berkshire

Newbury: King’s Road Link Road

The King’s Road Link Road in Newbury is a new direct link between the Hambridge Road industrial area and the A339 . The scheme will support housing delivery and significantly improve access to a key employment area.

Delivery Partner: West Berkshire Council

Main contractor: Housebuilder’s contractor

LEP investment of Local Growth Funds (LGF): £2,335,000 (16/17: £1.335m; 17/18: £1m)

Total cost of scheme: £6,325,000

Status: On site

  • Demolition is complete but costs have increased based on the results of the the geotechnical and contamination reports
  • A £1.5m Housing Infrastructure Fund application has been successful to help meet the additional costs of the scheme
  • Network Rail has completed the work to replace the rail bridge adjacent to the redevelopment site
  • The decontamination works are progressing well on site

Scheme benefits:

  • Decontamination of former industrial site
  • New link road and railway bridge
  • 177 new houses

Newbury: London Road Industrial Estate

A new junction on the A339 and widening to provide access to the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE), opened up a 10-hectare edge of town centre site for redevelopment. The scheme unlocked the potential for additional housing and extends the town centre; a longstanding objective of the Newbury Vision 2025.

Delivery Partner: West Berkshire Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £1,900,000 (15/16: £500k; 16/17: £1.4m)

Total cost of scheme: £4,500,000

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • 1,000 new jobs
  • 14,000 sq m of commercial floorspace
  • 300 new houses

Newbury: Sandleford Park

This scheme will provide additional access to Sandleford Park, a development site that will deliver up to 1,500 dwellings, via two main elements i) a new access from the A339, and ii) new junction arrangements on the A343 and the upgrading of a route to provide suitable access. The scheme will also unlock land for a new primary school.

Delivery Partner: West Berkshire Council

Main contractor: Dawnus

LEP investment of LGF: £2,900,000 (18/19: £2.4m; 19/20: £500k)

Total cost of scheme: £10,960,000

Status: On site

  • Planning permission was granted in March 2018 for the A339 road access including bunds alongside the road at the request of Newbury College
  • Contractors for the construction of the Primary School (which this scheme unlocks) and Phase 1 of the A339 access road are currently working on site

Scheme benefits:

  • 420 new jobs
  • 35,500 sq m of commercial floorspace
  • Up to 1,500 new houses

Newbury: Railway Station

The Newbury Railway Station scheme plans to enhance and upgrade the station buildings to cope with the anticipated increases in passengers and demand for travel and car parking from the Market Street and Sandleford Park developments. The scheme will deliver start-up incubator business units within rail land to the south of Newbury Railway Station, two new retail outlets on the station, new and enhanced cycle facilities, ticket hall and waiting areas, along with a new multi-storey car park, station forecourt, and pedestrian/cycle link to the town centre.

Delivery Partner: West Berkshire Council and Great Western Railway (GWR)

Main contractor: Not yet procured

LEP investment of LGF: £6,051,000 (18/19: £3,63m; 19/20: £921k; 20/21: £1.5m)

Total cost of scheme: £18,441,000

Status: Conditional approval

  • Closer links have been forged with the wider Market Street development and road schemes programme for the A339 corridor in order that the masterplan can be coordinated
  • The project received conditional financial approval at the BLTB meeting in July 2018
  • The Network Rail new bridge (part of the electrification project) is now open and the old footbridge has been taken away

Scheme benefits:

  • 5 new businesses
  • 1,500 sq m commercial floorspace
  • 235 new houses

Reading

Green Park Railway Station

Reading Green Park Railway Station is a new railway station on the Reading to Basingstoke line south of Reading. This scheme, which includes the station, multi-modal interchange and access road, will significantly improve the accessibility and connectivity of the existing Green Park Business Park and surrounding area, and support delivery of the Green Park Village development.

Delivery Partner: Reading Borough Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £9,150,000 (17/18: £4.575m; 18/19: £4.575m)

Total cost of scheme: £17,050,000

Status:

  • Costs include £2.3m from DfT’s New Stations Fund 2 for additional passenger facilities, specifically for a station building and longer platforms
  • Enabling works for the interchange construction commenced on-site in March 2018. Construction of the station is due to start in the autumn
  • The process of discharging planning conditions for the station and interchange is on-going with Reading and West Berks. planning authorities
  • A new planning application has been submitted to Wokingham and West Berkshire due to the platforms moving south outside of the original red line boundary; a decision is due in winter 2018

Scheme benefits:

  • 3,580 jobs
  • 68,000 sq m of commercial floorspace
  • 735 new houses

South Reading Mass Rapid Transit

South Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Phases 1 and 2 will provide a series of bus priority measures on the A33 between M4 junction 11 and the A33 junction with Longwater Avenue, Green Park (Phase 1) and Island Road (Phase 2). Phases 3 and 4 will provide a series of bus priority measures on the A33 between Rose Kiln Lane and Bennett Road, and connecting routes in Reading town centre. The scheme will reduce congestion and journey times, improving public transport reliability on the main corridor into Reading. Phases 5 and 6, when funded, will complete the connection to Reading Railway Station. Phases 3 & 4 will also be part-funded by the LEP through the Business Rates Retention Pilot (BRRP).

Delivery Partner: Reading Borough Council

Main contractor: Wills Brothers

LEP investment of LGF:

Phases 1 & 2: £4,500,000 (16/17: £3m; 17/18: £1.5m)

Phases 3 & 4: £2,340,000 (17/18: £2.25m; 18/19: £900k)

Phases 3&4 (BRRP): £7,808,000 (18/19)

Total cost of the scheme: £5,620,000 (phases 1&2), £12,774,000 (phases 3&4)

Status: On site

Phases 1&2

  • Construction works are complete for the majority of the scheme, with outbound sections of bus lane provided between Island Road and M4 junction 11
  • Construction of the final section of bus lane (northbound between Imperial Way and South Oak Way) has been delayed until winter 2018

Phases 3&4

  • A phased construction programme for the full scheme has been developed, including measures to reduce disruption to the flow of traffic while the construction works take place, for instance by limiting any necessary lane closures to off peak hours only.
  • Construction of the town centre elements of the scheme are complete, including commissioning of the pedestrian crossing on London Street.

Scheme benefits:

  • 2,424 new jobs
  • 44,016 sq m commercial floorspace
  • 527 new houses

East Reading Mass Rapid Transit

East Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Phases 1 & 2 is a public transport link between central Reading and the proposed Thames Valley Park P&R site to the east of the Reading urban area, running parallel to the Great Western Mainline.

Delivery Partners: Reading Borough Council & Wokingham Borough Council

Main contractor: Not yet procured

LEP investment of LGF: £19,067,000 (19/20: £3m; 20/21: £16.067m)

Total cost of scheme: £23,867,000

Status: Full approval

  • An updated planning application was submitted in May 2018. Reading’s Planning Committee resolved to grant permission for the scheme on 30 May, however Wokingham’s Planning Committee refused permission on 25 June
  • A new planning application has now been submitted, with a decision due in winter 2018/19.

Scheme benefits:

  • 1,236 new jobs
  • 50 new businesses
  • 29,600 sq m commercial floorspace
  • 356 new houses

Wokingham

National Cycle Network Route 422

The National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 422 will join a number of economic centres across Berkshire as part of a new National Cycle Route. The Route will start in Newbury and follow the A4 to Thatcham, Theale, central Reading, Wokingham and then to Bracknell, with the end of the NCN in Ascot.

Delivery Partner: Wokingham Borough Council with Reading Borough, West Berkshire & Bracknell Forest Councils

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £4,200,000 (16/17: £2.1m; 17/18: £1.5m; 18/19: £600k)

Total cost of scheme: £7,250,000

Status: On site

The works in Reading have included:

  • The Phase 1 and 2 along Bath Road and linking Bath Road to London Road via the town centre is now underway due to finish early summer 2019
  • Phase 3 route, between Watlington Street/London Road and Three Tuns, is currently being developed and is due to commence winter 2018

The works in Bracknell have included:

  • Opening of new sections linking the town centre with the train station
  • 350 new cycle parking spaces at the Lexicon shopping centre
  • The design process is underway to provide the Wokingham eastern link to Coppid Beech junction and works are programmed for end of 2018/19. The Coppid Beech section of the route will be completed by Bellway Homes as part of their Amen Corner North development

The works in Wokingham have included:

  • Removal of pedestrian islands in the centre of the A329 which cause pinch points for cyclists
  • Two new mandatory on-carriageway lanes
  • Significant kerb realignment and introduction of a new Toucan crossing point
  • New traffic calming measures on Holt Lane (near Holt School)
  • Resurfacing some parts of the carriageway

In West Berks consultation has been completed on Phase 2 on the West Berks scheme Newbury to Thatcham.

Scheme benefits:

  • 5.1km of new cycleway
  • 1.1 km resurfaced road

Thames Valley Park & Ride

Thames Valley Park & Ride, situated off the A3290 in the east of the Reading urban area, will improve access to Reading town centre and major employment sites by providing congestion relief on the road network in east Reading.

Delivery Partner: Wokingham Borough Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £2,900,000 (18/19: £2m, 19/20 £900k)

Total cost of scheme: £3,600,000

Status: On site

  • Site management works are complete
  • Utilities and utilities diversion will be the main issue for the site and communications are ongoing with SGN and SSE
  • Topographical, ecological and archaeological surveys are complete
  • Commencing with the ground investigation works

Wokingham Distributor Roads

The Arborfield Distributor Road will provide relief to the existing A327 through the village of Arborfield and Arborfield Cross Gyratory to accommodate and reduce the traffic impacts of development at Arborfield Garrison and South of the M4 (Shinfield and Spencers Wood). There are four Distributor Roads in the overall programme, however only the Aborfield Cross Relief Road is being funded by LGF

Delivery Partner: Wokingham Borough Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £24,000,000 (18/19: £600k; 19/20: £14m; 20/21: £9.4)

Total cost of scheme: £100,000,000

Status: Programme entry

  • Oversight of this project has been retained by DfT due to the amount of LGF investment
  • An initial report has detailed the proposed approach to producing the business case and a meeting is due with DfT in mid-June to agree the approach for completing the business case
  • Wokingham Borough Council’s Executive approved the use of Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers to be used as required in the event that the land cannot be obtained through voluntary acquisition
  • In January 2018 Wokingham Borough Council granted full planning permission for the scheme to progress
  • Early archaeological enabling surveys will be commenced shortly and the discharge of some planning conditions is also being sought. DfT have agreed to provide advance funding to support this work

Scheme benefits:

  • 25,000 sq m of commercial floorspace
  • 4,000 new houses

Bracknell

Warfield Link Road

The Warfield Link Road sits within a development site for 2,200 new dwellings, schools, a neighbourhood centre, open space, SANGs and other infrastructure and facilities, and will serve as access for many of the development parcels.

Delivery Partner: Bracknell Forest Council

Main contractor: Housebuilder’s contractor

LEP investment of LGF: £3,500,000 (15/16)

Total cost of scheme: £5,200,000

Status: Complete

  • The scheme is now complete with the road fully opened to the public on 26 October 2018
  • So far, the scheme has unlocked planning approval for nearly 1,000 homes and a new primary school

Scheme benefits:

  • Access to employment land
  • 2,200 new houses

Bracknell Town Centre

This project includes several necessary junction modifications and other works associated with the major redevelopment of Bracknell Town Centre, including 3kms of resurfaced road and 700m of new cycleway.

Delivery Partner: Bracknell Forest Council

Main contractor: Ringways

LEP investment of LGF: £2,000,000 (15/16)

Total cost of scheme: £6,382,000

Status: Complete

  • The scheme is complete and the Lexicon Centre opened for business on 7 September 2017

Scheme benefits:

  • 3,540 new jobs
  • 270,000 sq m of commercial floorspace
  • 1000 new houses

Bracknell A3095

This scheme will deliver significant improvements to one of the key highway corridors in Thames Valley Berkshire between the M4 (J8/9/10) and the M3 (J4), and between Maidenhead, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell, and Camberley/Blackwater Valley and beyond. This work will also assist in unlocking housing delivery to provide 1415 new houses and enhance urban connectivity.

Delivery Partner: Bracknell Forest Council

Main contractor: Not yet procured

LEP investment of LGF: £5,518,800 (18/19: £200k; 19/20: £1.8m; 2m; 20/21: £3.5188m)

Total cost of scheme: £8,018,800

Status: On site

  • The project received financial approval at the BLTB meeting in July 2018 and enabling works are underway
  • Start of construction to commence winter 2019 to follow on from the completion of Downshire Way dualling works

Scheme benefits:

  • 1,415 new houses

Coral Reef Junction

The Coral Reef Junction scheme has converted the former roundabout to a fully signalised crossroads that reduces delay and improves journey times along the route. These measures have reduced carbon emissions and improved access to existing employment areas and new developments, unlocking their economic potential.

Delivery Partner: Bracknell Forest Council

Main contractor: Ringways

LEP investment of LGF: £2,100,000 (15/16)

Total cost of scheme: £3,010,000

Status: Complete

  • The scheme is complete and working well
  • A one year evaluation report has been published here

Scheme benefits:

  • Pinch point congestion relief

Martins Heron

The Martins Heron scheme is part of a wider programme to improve access between the M3 and M4 via the A322, A329 and A329(M). This route, from the Martins Heron roundabout, runs through the middle of Bracknell and includes associated junction improvements and minor alterations to the London Road corridor, to reduce congestion and journey times.

Delivery Partner: Bracknell Forest Council

Main contractor: Ringways

LEP investment of LGF: £2,900,000 (16/17: £200k; 17/18: £2.7m)

Total cost of scheme: £3,800,000

Status: On site

  • Scheme has started on site and Phase 1, 2 and 4 has been completed
  • Phase 3 is now under way to align with utility diversions required as part of the scheme

Scheme benefits:

  • Phases 1 and 2 (of 4) of the junction improvements have been completed
  • Phase 3 work to widen the road is now under way to align with utility diversions required as part of the scheme

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM)

Maidenhead Town Centre 'Missing Links'

This scheme will improve connectivity between the planned major development areas in and around Maidenhead and the town centre, surrounding residential areas and local facilities. A new ‘inner-ring’ is proposed for pedestrians and cyclists, which will be tied into new/enhanced crossings over the A4, including a pedestrian/cycle bridge.

Delivery Partner: Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Main contractor: Not yet procured

LEP investment of LGF: £2,241,788 (18/19: £243,310 19/20: £817,718 20/21: £1,180,759m)

Total cost of scheme: £2,802,235

Status: Conditional approval

  • RBWM has been shortlisted in its Housing Infrastructure Bid for enabling works for the Golf Course development site, with £9.8 million earmarked for major highways works and access improvements. RBWM is in dialogue with potential joint venture partners
  • Project has received the conditional approval at the Berkshire Local Transport Body meeting in November

Scheme benefits:

  • 8,000 new jobs
  • 65,404 sq m of commercial floorspace
  • 2,884 new houses

Maidenhead Station Access

The Maidenhead Railway Station scheme will improve connections for journeys made on foot, bicycle, train, taxi and car by increasing parking for rail commuters, shoppers, visitors and employees; improving the station forecourt and surrounding area creating a gateway to the town centre; and converting Broadway to a two-way operation.

Delivery Partner: Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Main contractor: Not yet procured

LEP investment of LGF: £3,750,000 (18/19: £1.275m; 19/20: £2.475m)

Total cost of scheme: £4,500,000

Status:• Full approval

  • RBWM is finalising a Basic Service Agreement with Network Rail to engage them on the project. The design programme is now being integrated into the Network Rail process
  • Network Rail will be redesigning the station building to account for future predicted passenger numbers, an expansion of the main ticket hall (within the boundary of the current awning) and gate lines. Work is due to start in early 2019

Scheme benefits:

  • 2,080 new jobs
  • 29,000 sq m commercial floorspace
  • 50 new houses

Slough

Burnham Station Access Improvements

The Burnham Railway Station scheme enhances access to the station from the west including Slough Trading Estate and neighbouring areas of South Buckinghamshire, in preparation for Crossrail services beginning in 2019. The scheme includes new station buildings and lifts, enhancements to the station entrances and parking. Highway improvements and traffic management measures have been carried out to achieve better access for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and general traffic.

Delivery Partner: Slough Borough Council

Main contractor: Amey

LEP investment of LGF: £2,000,000 (16/17)

Total cost of scheme: £6,250,000

Status: Complete

  • Station forecourt work was completed in October 2018
  • Network Rail is carrying out additional, ongoing work

Scheme benefits:

  • 1,050 new jobs
  • 40,000 sq m commercial floorspace

Slough & South Bucks: A4 Cycleway

The A4 Cycleway provides a safe and convenient cycle route between Slough and South Buckinghamshire. It follows the A4 corridor and link with a scheme being promoted by Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP. The scheme connects the two urban areas of Slough and Maidenhead and provide access to: the Bishops Centre Retail Park; Slough Trading Estate; Burnham and Taplow railway stations; and adjacent residential areas. It caters for commuting and other utility cycling trips, as well as leisure trips, connecting to National Cycle Network Route 61 via the Jubilee River, and to Cliveden and Burnham Beeches.

Delivery Partner: Slough Borough Council

Main contractors: Amey

LEP investment of LGF: £483,000 (16/17)

Total cost of scheme: £950,000

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • 2.4km of new cycleway

Slough Mass Rapid Transit - Phase 1

The A4 forms the spine of a 12km strategic public transport corridor linking Maidenhead, Slough and Heathrow. The western section of the Slough Mass Rapid Transit (SMaRT) project allows buses to operate along the service roads fronting Slough Trading Estate. Bus lanes and other priority measures will be provided in the central section between the Estate, Slough town centre and eastwards to junction 5 of the M4. Phase 2 will extend the route eastwards onto the airport; Phase 3 will extend the route westwards to an as yet identified Park and Ride site.

Delivery Partner: Slough Borough Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £5,600,000 (15/16: £3.1m; 16/17: £2.5m)

Total cost of scheme: £9,100,000

Status: Complete

  • Bus lane complete. New bus services are due to commence shortly

Scheme benefits:

  • 2,460 new jobs
  • 108,700 sq m of commercial floorspace
  • 3,120 new houses

Slough A332 Improvements

This scheme will include a programme of junction improvements, road widening and other works along the A332 on the approach to Slough town centre with the aim of improving conditions for general traffic as well as buses, making journeys quicker and more reliable.

Delivery Partner: Slough Borough Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £2,700,000 (15/16: £1.27m; 16/17: £1.43m)

Total cost of scheme: £5,000,000

Status: On site

  • Majority of work is completed, however there is a temporary delay due to additional utility service works
  • Completion date revised to winter 2018/19

Scheme benefits:

  • 2,150 new jobs
  • 79,150 of commercial floorspace
  • 2,995 new houses

Slough A355 Route Enhancement

This scheme, part of the ‘Heart of Slough’ project, will improve traffic flow and reduce congestion on the north-south A355 route linking the M4, Slough Trading Estate and the M40, and enhance access to Slough town centre. The scheme involves the remodelling of the Copthorne roundabout, signal and junction upgrades and selected road widening.

Delivery Partner: Slough Borough Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of LGF: £4,400,000 (15/16: £2.275m; 16/17: £2.125m)

Total cost of scheme: £5,800,000

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • 1,260 new jobs
  • 48,000 of commercial floorspace
  • 600 new houses

Langley Railway Station

This scheme will improve facilities at Langley and enhance access to the railway station from the surrounding area in preparation for Crossrail services beginning in 2019. Improvements include new station buildings, lifts and enhancements to the station entrances and parking. Improvements will also be made to pedestrian, cycling and bus facilities. Better information and signage will be provided along with measures to enhance the safety and security of the station.

Delivery Partner: Slough Borough Council

Main contractor: Slough DSO

LEP investment of LGF: £1,500,000 (17/18)

Total cost of scheme: £5,260,000

Status: On site

  • Work commenced on site in March 2018 and is due for completion in March 2019
  • Ongoing work programme requires further coordination with Network Rail and Crossrail contractor MRT

Scheme benefits:

  • Improved station access and facilities
  • 500 new houses

Berkshire-wide projects

Superfast Berkshire

Superfast Berkshire is a collaboration between the six Berkshire unitary authorities and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to bring high speed broadband solutions to residents and businesses, which are considered commercially un-viable by telecoms companies. The scheme is part of the government’s national scheme (managed by Broadband Delivery UK, part of DCMS) to expand high speed broadband across the country.

Delivery Partner: West Berkshire Council Contractors: Phase 2: Gigaclear & Callflow; Phase 3: Gigaclear

LEP investment of LGF: £500,000 (16/17: £43.5k; 17/18 £392k; 18/19 £64.5k)

Total cost of scheme: £21,027,382

Status: On site

  • Take-up of the enhanced service offered through the new digital infrastructure across Thames Valley Berkshire now stands at just over 50% and is still growing
  • The Superfast coverage stands at 96%
  • In RBWM 1,520 properties received access to a superfast broadband solution through an ‘open access’ network
  • In West Berkshire the build is complete in 18 community areas with a total of 6,793 funded homes ‘Ready for Service’ and 1,957 live customers. There are 20 community areas still under construction

Scheme benefits:

  • Number of additional businesses with broadband access of at least 30mbps - 1,396
  • Superfast Broadband Coverage (Speed Greater than 24Mbit/s) for Berkshire:
  • After Phase 2 - 95.60%
  • After Phase 3 - 99.64%

Thames Valley Berkshire Smart City Cluster

The project will deliver a smart city platform across Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham and West Berkshire benefiting residents and employees, and encouraging economic development. A communications platform will provide a low powered wide area network (LPWAN), the platform for the Internet of Things, and open up huge opportunities for the low cost deployment of smart devices for business, developers and local authorities to use.

In addition to the LPWAN network, there will also be a data platform built around the existing open data service. The key will be using BSI Hypercat standards approach to ensure an open system that allows data to be shared between systems with sufficient security. This will enable the smart city cluster to grow organically with new systems added, but without ‘lock-in’ to an overall smart city platform supplier. A series of smart tech solutions will be built on this platform, including air quality monitoring using a wide dispersal of low cost monitors. The project will be delivered in 3 main stages, the 1st stage being the main capital investment for the smart city platform and air quality monitors, and the 2nd and 3rd stages being a two-phase capital investment in the IoT smart city sensors and supporting data systems.

To ensure innovation whilst also meeting procurement requirements, the funding will be offered in competitive calls requiring a level of match, mirroring the approach used by Innovate UK. This will deliver a range of projects within the Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham and West Berkshire areas around transport, energy, environment and assisted living, with a package focused on small scale funding for start-ups. It is hoped that the allocation of LGF core capital funding will be a catalyst for both the public sector and large companies looking to engage in smart city opportunities.

Delivery Partner: Reading Borough Council with project management from Peter Brett Associates

LEP investment of LGF: £1,733,654 (17/18: £83.4k; 18/19: £850k; 19/20: £800,254)

Total cost of scheme: £9,952,654

Status: On site

  • Project commenced beginning of March 2018 and a steering group has been established
  • Design/specification work commenced for the smart city platform
  • The third workshop has been undertaken with Businesses at Thames Valley Science Park in September. The next stage is to use the information collected to identify the challenge areas that best meet the combined requirements

Scheme benefits:

Economic: Attracting funding for research, business investment and start-ups in delivering smart products

Social: The project has the potential to deliver an assisted living element, which will directly improve the lives of those with mobility challenges

Environmental: The project has the potential to deliver significant environmental benefits in that improved infrastructure network management services will smooth vehicle flow, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions and air quality risk

Solutions Labs:

A collaborative STEM project from Berkshire’s Further Education Colleges and Universities

The purpose of this project is to raise the quality and profile of STEM provision across Berkshire and ensure that STEM education responds to the needs of the innovative, forward thinking companies (large and small) located here. It will drive the development of a young workforce, which can seize the tech-based job opportunities that are emerging and support the growth ambitions of the area. To deliver this, we will work with STEM businesses to shape curricula so that they are aligned with their changing needs (particularly at technician levels).

The Solutions Labs will create resources that are currently unavailable within colleges; developing excellence in business research and development; innovation; testing and development of entrepreneurial skills; all to create individuals who will bring the products, skills and innovation required to stimulate the local economy.

To this end, our intention is to refurbish existing buildings within FE Colleges to create Solutions Labs. These Labs will provide the wherewithal for early stage prototyping. They will be used both as a state-of-the-art setting for teaching students (including Higher Level Apprentices) and as a resource available (on a commercial basis) to micro and small businesses in TVB. Practice elsewhere suggests that small companies struggle to afford proto-typing equipment of this type (3-D modelling, printing, simulation, etc.) individually, but at certain points in time, the use of it is critical in relation to their own future growth.

The Solutions Labs will differ from each other in terms of their technological focus: at Reading College, there will be an emphasis on engineering and science; at Newbury College, the Solutions Lab will be oriented exclusively to fusion, mechanical and electrical engineering. The IT Solutions Lab at Reading College will focus on networking, data security and software engineering; and the Solutions Lab Specialising in Sustainable Energy at Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA), will provide a modern setting for training in renewable energy engineering and associated skills.

In all cases, a strong and on-going dialogue with relevant businesses will guide the choice of equipment included in the Lab so that the facility’s relevance and currency is retained (and, overtime, recreated). Expertise will be drawn from Innovation Hubs, which have been developed through the Gazelle Colleges Network.

Reading College Engineering Solutions Lab

A new STEM ‘Solutions lab’ to promote engineering skills development and engagement with local employers. The project upgrades poor accommodation; providing a new Engineering and IT learning base equipped with flexible work layouts, furniture, equipment and the IT required to support a wide range of theoretical and practical teaching and learning needs required.

Delivery Partners: Reading College (Activate Learning)

Contractors: Total Projects Ltd

LEP investment of LGF: £50,000 (15/16)

Total cost of the scheme: £151,049

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • Total area of improved learning / training floorspace of 277m2
  • 150 new apprenticeships by 2020/21
  • 150 new learners by 2020/21

Newbury College Solutions Lab

The Newbury College Solutions Lab will comprise of three zones. The first zone is the electronic zone consisting of electronics, robotic and electrical equipment to develop and design innovative industry approved engineering projects. The second zone is a research zone equipped with computers and printers including 3D printers that have up to date industry standard engineering design and drawing software. The third zone will support the production element for engineering.

Delivery Partner: Newbury College

Contractor: Steele David Ltd

LEP investment of LGF: £333,333 (15/16)

Total cost of scheme: £1,000,000

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • Total area of improved learning / training floorspace of 216m2
  • 150 new apprenticeships by 2020/21
  • 150 new learners by 2020/21

Reading College IT Solutions Lab

A new STEM ‘Solutions lab’ to promote IT skills development and engagement with local employers. The project upgrades poor accommodation; providing a new IT learning base equipped with flexible work layouts, furniture, equipment and the IT required to support a wide range of theoretical and practical teaching and learning needs required.

Delivery Partner: Reading College (Active Learning)

Contractor: Holy Brook Estates

LEP investment of LGF: £130,033 (17/18)

Total cost of scheme: £260,067

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • Total area of improved learning / training floorspace of 400m2
  • 68 new apprenticeships by 2024/25
  • 350 new learners by 2024/25

Sustainable Energy Solutions Lab at BCA

The refurbishment of existing Engineering Workshop provides a modern setting for training in unique renewable energy engineering and associated skills. The existing building has been re-cladded; insulation and heating improved and internal services have been upgraded. The Centre will serve as a base for the development and teaching of technologies to equip a future workforce with the knowledge needed to address the adoption of sustainable practices.

Delivery Partner: Berkshire College of Agriculture

Contractor: LSM Building Contractors Ltd

LEP investment of LGF: £250,000 (17/18)

Total cost of scheme: £250,000

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • Total area of improved learning / training floorspace of 300m2
  • 48 new apprenticeships by 2024/25
  • 84 new learners by 2024/25

HealthReach at University of Reading

The project will be delivered via a mobile unit which create a new community based learning experience to various groups of learners, including local primary and secondary school students to be immersed in interactive healthcare simulation scenarios. Activities, co-designed with education professionals will provide experiences that link to educational curricula and display a range of job roles and careers within healthcare and life sciences, particularly those which are currently not accessed by disadvantaged groups.

Delivery Partner: University of Reading

LEP investment of LGF by year: £114,000 (18/19)

Total cost of scheme: £114,000

Status: On site

  • The van for transportation of the staff and kit has been purchased and branded and the structure for the mobile video immersive technology has been ordered and is being made

Scheme benefits:

  • 7,500 students to be engaged in STEM awareness activities in first year
  • 465 work experience visits/taster sessions in first year

River Thames Scheme

The overall Scheme provides a long term and comprehensive solution to reducing flood risk between Datchet and Teddington. As the largest area of developed floodplain in England without flood defences, this area has suffered from significant, regular flooding. For Flood Channel Section 1 (Datchet to Hythe End), a range of survey works have been conducted, which include site investigation works, topographical and bathymetry surveys, groundwater and gas monitoring, and ecological surveys.

Delivery Partner: Environment Agency Main contractors: Fugro, Opus and White Young Green (WYG)

LEP investment of LGF: £500,000 (15/16)

Total cost of scheme: £581,537.16

Status: Complete

Scheme benefits:

  • The survey information will help to inform the preferred option and ultimately the Outline Business Case, due to be submitted in Spring 2019
  • The overall scheme will reduce flood risk to 10,000m2 of commercial floor space and open up 145 hectares of potentially developable land, boosting local productivity

(C) Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Ltd November 2018

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