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The Marches LEP – Chairman’s Bulletin No. 38


May 16, 2012 by oswestrychamberoftrade

In this issue:

HLF bid approved Business group launch

Broadband initiatives

The Marches LEP is supporting rural broadband initiatives across the region, with a series of events held in Herefordshire last month in association with the UK IT Association.

The events were part of a project supported by the Marches LEP which aimed to improve business readiness to exploit the economic benefits of high speed broadband which will be delivered in the region over the next few years.

In Shropshire, businesses and residents are now being asked to register their support for superfast broadband via an online survey. The Connecting Shropshire campaign wants as many people to register their interest as possible before the end of May. Further information is available at and you can follow the link to a brief survey which will help prove the demand for the service, by showing the number of people who would consider having superfast broadband if it became available.

Heritage Lottery Fund success

I am delighted that a bid for £12.1m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the conservation and redevelopment of Shrewsbury’s historic Flax Mill Maltings has been successful.

The HLF last week announced that the bid has secured a ‘first-round pass’, and that funding of £465,300 has been awarded to develop more detailed plans for the regeneration of the Maltings. This will take place before a second round bid is submitted to HLF, within the next 18 months, in the hope of securing a further £11,686,000 of funding.

The Flax Mill is an iconic building, the forerunner of the modern skyscraper, which reflects our industrial heritage in the Marches as well as highlighting our contribution to engineering innovation. The plans to transform the site into a centre for learning, leisure and social enterprise will also be of great benefit in the future for our visitor economy and providing a base for skills training and community businesses.

The bid was submitted by a partnership of Shropshire Council, English Heritage and the Friends of the Flax Mill Maltings.

SBP launch

The Shropshire Business Partnership was officially launched last week, at the Greenhous Meadow in Shrewsbury. This new networking group for professional and business services aims to bring together companies to share knowledge and collaborate on projects.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and North Shropshire MP, the Rt Hon Owen Paterson, officially launched the event and Chris Tollady, of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills was the guest speaker.

SBP is an independent networking group, run by the private sector, to encourage economic growth and create new employment opportunities. I’m delighted to hear that the launch event was such a success, attracting more than 90 business leaders and guests, keen to develop working partnerships to boost business in our region. The network is free to join for eligible businesses and run by its members for its members. For further information visit

For further information on the work of the Marches LEP go to our website at, follow us on Twitter @MarchesLEP and we’d be delighted to hear your feedback at



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