CITB at Bircham Newton set to receive £4 million for new national centre for advanced construction skills

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CITB at Bircham Newton has been earmarked to receive £4 million to build a new national centre for higher level construction skills.

The funding is part of a £38 million package secured by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in the second phase of its Growth Deal negotiations with the government.

The LEP is now in talks with the government to confirm when work on the Institute of Advanced Construction project at Bircham Newton will take place, but it could be as early as next year.

“The centre will provide training for advanced construction workers, which are so important for housing and other projects throughout the LEP and we shall be pushing to start work on it as soon as possible,” confirmed an LEP spokesman.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham welcomed the news, describing it as “brilliant”.

He said: “CITB is a centre of excellence and plays a crucial role in the skills agenda and has just seen a record number of apprentices going through their courses.

“It is very important for youngsters in West Norfolk to get the necessary training and it is really positive news for CITB.”

West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said the investment would strengthen the construction industry in the future.

He said: “This is excellent news for Lynn and West Norfolk.  This project is of regional and national importance given the role that construction plays in the success of the national economy. It will elevate the level of construction skills and encourage construction innovation ensuring that people are trained to meet the future needs of the industry.

“This latest announcement builds on our previous success securing awards for the University Centre at the College of West Anglia and the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre. It confirms this council’s commitment to developing higher levels of skills, qualifications and innovation in order to support growth and attract business investment in West Norfolk.

“I congratulate the borough staff who have worked so constructively with CITB and the LEP to build such a strong case for this important initiative.”

As well as the new Bircham centre, the £38 million will be used to fund a Highways and Civil Engineering Academy in Huntingdonshire, a new southern bypass for Ely and an upgrade of the M11 Junction 8.

And £16.6 million of the total will go towards the Growing Places Fund, which provides affordable loan funding to help promote growth. It could include assisting residential and commercial development schemes, as well as business growth programmes.

Overall the £38 million is projected to create 15,500 new jobs and 10,000 new homes across the whole LEP.

New Anglia LEP has just been awarded £48.5 million in the expanded Growth Deal, which follows on from it securing £173 million of investment six months ago. One of the schemes to benefit from this is the Innovation centre in Lynn.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “This additional government money is great news for the region and fantastic for skills and training. I have fully supported the New Anglia LEP in securing this.”