Five hundred new jobs could be created locally if an £8 million funding bid for an Inspiring Eden Enterprise Hub near Penrith is successful.
Eden District Council is submitting a formal bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, with ambitious plans to build a purpose-built, state-of-the-art enterprise facility on land near Stoneybeck roundabout, north of the town on the A6.
A mix of office, studio, workshop and collaborative spaces would be provided as part of the development, which could generate up to 80 new businesses and £20m of economic benefits in the first 10 years of operation.
Cllr Mary Robinson, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Enterprise, said:
“Eden District Council’s Cabinet was delighted to give the green light to a formal bid to be made to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, for a new state-of-the-art enterprise facility for Penrith, Eden and the wider regional economy.
“This is a key part of our ambitious Inspiring Eden plans to drive economic recovery, prosperity and levelling up through enterprise and entrepreneurship - with a particular focus on achieving rural excellence for our rural communities.
“We feel we have a real chance with this bid, as the project fits the Government’s criteria for levelling up - particularly across our rural communities - providing value for money and being ready to deliver.
“A key element of the Enterprise Hub is to encourage collaboration through a range of knowledge exchange opportunities between academia and business, to unlock the full potential of local enterprise and entrepreneurship.”
The project will also provide a catalyst for other Inspiring Eden Projects, including the ‘Inspiring Eden Hub’, which seeks to reduce the number of empty shops in Penrith town centre and provide a base from which other projects across the town and the wider district will be driven.
It is hoped that the hub could be open for business as soon as December 2024, if the bid is successful.
Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and the Border, has also worked closely with Eden District Council and local stakeholders in the bidding process, and the local MP has submitted formal priority support for the bid.