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Regional Development Agencies: South West

Volume 710: debated on Monday 11 May 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what benefits have accrued to communities from the West Dorset District in the past five years from the activities of the South West Regional Development Agency. [HL2841]

The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) through the regional economic strategy (RES) for the south-west plays a key role in supporting investments/interventions and delivery at regional, sub-regional (eg Dorset) and local (eg west Dorset) levels. These RES driven interventions, though not recoded on a local authority (LA) basis, ultimately benefit localities and communities across the region. Some of the agency's key activities from the past five years, which will have led to benefits for west Dorset communities, including its businesses, are:

provision of business support through Business Link, the Manufacturing Advisory Service and the Rural Enterprise Gateway (regional) and more local projects such as the Dorset skills festival and the Dorset business mentoring scheme;

support to the development and implementation of the Bournemouth Dorset and Poole multi-area agreement, which provides the area with the opportunity to have a direct relationship with Government about its priorities; co-ordination of activity to maximise the economic impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games;

support for the Dorset rural renaissance programme;

support for the development of the Dorset Rural Regeneration Company, Dorset Squared (sub-regional);

support towards the Bournemouth Dorset and Poole workspace strategy, helping local authorities plan for appropriate provision of workspace; funding to support the Weymouth and Dorchester economic vision;

support to projects and activities along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site ie the Jurassic Coast Trust, funding for the quality business scheme helping tourism-related businesses improve their customer care; funding towards local projects to support local community planning and local delivery in Bridport and Lyme Regis and funding towards creation of the Dorset towns network;

investment to support regeneration projects, including provision of employment space, in Beaminster, Lyme Regis (St Michaels Centre) and Bridport (Gore Cross and project development funding for Bridport South West Quadrant).

In addition, the agency is the managing authority for the local action programme of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which has awarded £3.1 million to the chalk and cheese partnership which covers west Dorset. The agency has also recently funded the Town Mill Trust in Lyme Regis to acquire a building to refurbish in order to create new work space.