Today, Thursday 23 February, the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced that Plymouth has been successful in its bid for funding from Growth Deal 3 and secured £5m towards the redevelopment of Plymouth railway station.
This follows an extensive campaign by Plymouth MP, Johnny Mercer, to secure funding after some hiccups during the bid process, including one point when it was feared Plymouth might lose out. For some months, Johnny has worked hard behind the scenes meeting ministers, corresponding with officials and generally using any opportunity to further case for more investment in Plymouth. That work, along with fellow MPs Gary Streeter and Oliver Colvile, has finally yielded a successful result.
Speaking earlier on hearing the announcement, Johnny Mercer MP, said:
“This is really excellent news to have. I have been pushing ministers and officials hard on this for some time, first of all to advance the case for funding to be given to the redevelopment project, but also to secure a public announcement. It is possible that I have used up some patience at the Department for Communities and Local Government with my letters and ‘accidental’ face to face run-ins, although we’ve ended up with the result we wanted so I am happy enough.
“Again, like some of the other projects currently underway in Plymouth, this is one of the first pieces in a larger the puzzle. However, with news trains expected next year, a huge investment by a multinational firm in the north of the city last year and a commitment from central government to look again at public health target allocations, I strongly believe we are starting to move in the right direction.
“A big thanks to Sajid for coming all the way to Plymouth, hearing everyone go on about these projects, then have to listen to me these past couple months, it can’t have been easy.”
Secretary of State, Sajid Javid MP, went to Plymouth in October 2016 and visited two sites that had submitted funding allocations for Growth Deal 3: South Yard in Devonport and Plymouth railway station, or the ‘gateway to Britain’s Ocean City’. He said today:
“I was delighted to visit Plymouth in October last year at the invitation of Johnny Mercer MP in order to meet with local stakeholders and review in person applications from Plymouth for Growth Deal 3 funding.
“Johnny, Gary Streeter MP and Oliver Colvile MP, along with officers from Plymouth City Council, strongly pushed the case for how vital this funding was within a much larger £50m project and show how it would begin to unlock Plymouth railway station for redevelopment.
“Frankly, the plan for the station looks fantastic which is why I can understand Johnny being such a firm advocate of this. At times it has felt that neither I, nor my team or my ministers were safe without Johnny springing up to talk about an “essential renovation project in Plymouth that required a little investment”. Happily, with a professional bid, Plymouth has been awarded the funding and I look forward to making my next visit to see the work underway.”
Notes to Editors
1. Plymouth’s bids were submitted as part of a larger bid from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, which you can find here.
2. Sajid Javid’s visit to Plymouth in October 2016 coincided with the South West Growth Summit, details of which can be found here.
3. Johnny wrote to the Secretary of State in November 2016, along with Gary Streeter, extolling the hugely beneficial possibilites that redevelopment would helped create. A copy of the letter is here.
4. A group of South West MPs also wrote later in November 2016, when expectations were that the HotSW LEP would undershoot on bid expectations and Plymouth would be missed out.