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'Massive boost for local economy' - Farron

October 19, 2012 1:04 PM

TF ruralSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has today hailed the success of two local businesses who have received major funding from the Regional Growth Fund, following support from the MP. The grants will help secure 400 jobs in the local economy at Windermere Steamboat Museum, and James Cropper plc in Burneside.

James Cropper plc is the largest private sector employer in South Lakeland and a world leader in the manufacture of bespoke high quality coloured paper & board. The successful £3.15 million grant from the RGF will develop technology to install a biomass steam generating plant. This plan will help safeguard 300 jobs.

The grant is part of a £7m project, which includes research & development, to establish the process technology to install a Waste Incineration Directive (WID) compliant biomass incinerator and steam boiler to generate steam required by the papermaking process. The fuel mix for this process will be a unique mix of solid recovered fuel (made from segregated Cumbrian household waste) and papermaking primary effluent "cake".

Lakeland Arts Trust have also won a Regional Growth Fund grant, which will help them bring in an additional £8.75 million of private investment into Windermere and the Lake District. The scheme will also help safeguard 94 local jobs. The £10 million redeveloped WindermereSteamboatMuseum will be a world class visitor attraction, benefiting the local economy as part of the Windermere Waterfront Programme, creating employment, extending visitor stays and bringing £7.5 million of Heritage Lottery Funding and £1 million of private investment to the area.

The Windermere Steam boat Museum is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors each year and help to further enhance the profile of the Lake District as one of the UK's leading visitor destinations.

These successful bids follow on from last year when Tim helped secure a £2.75million grant for Gilkes in Kendal which will create 500 local manufacturing jobs and safeguard a further 250. This grant is estimated to unlock over £70 million of private investment into the town.

Commenting, Tim said: "This is fantastic news for the South Lakes - getting one bid is remarkable, but getting two successful bids is stunning. We have all worked together on this and I would like to thank Croppers and the Lakeland Arts Trust for their great ideas that we could all get behind. I found it easy to lobby ministers on these bids because they were so well designed and much needed. I'd also like to thank South Lakeland District Council for their support of the bids.

"This is without doubt the best day I've had since becoming our area's MP. Being able to say that because of our work together we have safeguarded nearly a thousand jobs and helped to create hundreds more is a wonderful achievement that we can all be proud of. But there is still more we can and must do and I will do everything I possibly can to fight for our economy. The campaign to bring well paid jobs to South Lakeland continues!"

South Lakeland District Council leader, Cllr Peter Thornton, said: "This is a very exciting day for South Lakeland! To receive substantial support for a local manufacturing industry, and also for a new groundbreaking tourist attraction, is really exceptional and a huge tribute to the hard work of Tim Farron, our local MP."

Mark Cropper, Chairman of James Cropper plc said: "The success of our RGF bid could not be more welcome. This project, which we've been trying to get off the ground since 2005, is vital for the long term success of our business. It will bring energy costs under control, reduce CO2 emissions and related carbon taxation and ensure that Burneside remains a viable manufacturing location for decades to come."

Martin Ainscough, Chairman of the Lakeland Arts Trust said: "We are delighted to receive the grant from the Regional Growth Fund to create a world-class visitor attraction in the heart of the Lake District. The Windermere Steamboat Museum has a unique collection of boats and will be an internationally significant addition to Windermere, growing tourism in Cumbria and creating all year round, quality employment. We have brought together an award winning team to deliver this exciting project and this investment is a major boost for us."