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Community Infrastructure Fund

Volume 490: debated on Friday 27 March 2009

My hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Paul Clark), the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, and I are today announcing £170 million of capital support from the Community Infrastructure Fund for 29 transport projects in the growth areas and growth points that will help to unlock housing, and a further 26 projects that are being invited to submit full business cases for further consideration.

The housing market is experiencing significant challenges as a result of turbulence in the global financial markets. The growth areas and growth points are playing a critical role in helping us to meet these challenges, with plans to build 35 per cent. above previously planned levels. But if the infrastructure support for these new homes is not in place, their construction will be delayed when we need them most, hampering the economy’s recovery. This means we need to be investing today in tomorrow’s infrastructure. The long-term challenge to meet the housing needs of an ageing, growing population, while helping families and first time buyers priced out of the property market, remains. The Government are committed to promoting the long-term stability of the housing market and meeting the long term challenge of increasing housing supply.

The Community Infrastructure Fund is one of Government’s key mechanisms for supporting housing growth. As a joint Communities and Local Government and Department for Transport fund, it is designed to specifically support small and medium scale transport schemes that unlock housing growth. One hundred million pounds has already been allocated to 13 schemes in the Thames Gateway. A further £200 million has been ring-fenced to support the growth areas and growth points over the CSR07 period.

Today’s announcement allocates £170 million of this for 29 transport schemes in the growth areas and growth points that will support the delivery in housing growth over the next two years. The list projects include:

New public transport facilities, such as the new South East Hampshire Bus rapid transit scheme;

New road and junction improvements, such as the improvements to the Southgate area of Kings Lynn which will support the development of 900 new homes;

Innovative transport solutions that will ensure smoother traffic flows and reduced congestion such as the A14 ramp metering scheme in Kettering and the urban traffic management scheme in Aylesbury; and

Schemes to improve sustainability, such as the Wichestowe Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge which will provide a sustainable means for the new development at Wichelstowe to access the town centre in Swindon

Another 26 schemes from the second round growth points have been shortlisted to submit full business cases for consideration for a further £30 million from the community infrastructure fund together with any remaining funding from the first round. This includes projects to provide a new rail station at Chorley, new cycling facilities at Ellesmere Port and road improvements to service high frequency bus services in Newcastle.

The Community Infrastructure Fund is being managed on behalf of Government by the Homes and Communities Agency. This funding is in addition to the £833 million already provided to the growth areas and growth points from the growth fund over the CSR07 period.

Further details of the schemes that have been allocated funding have been placed in the Library of the House.