In an attempt to secure funding for various projects in the area, Torbay Council required support preparing a £20 million bid for the Levelling Up Fund.
Driving up economic prosperity across Torbay was central to local recovery plans and tackling deep seated economic challenges. In southern Torbay there are significant opportunities in fishing, a sector at the heart of Brixham, to increase landing capacity, double the size of the fish market, and create more sustainable jobs. Opportunities also exist in electronics and photonics where businesses are growing and a strong identity is forming through the Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) and the High Tech Cluster which is driving manufacturing and production to create more high value jobs. The council identified two projects which would capitalise on the potential of these industries: extending the Brixham Fish Market and investing in the photonics sectors. HJA were commissioned to make the case for investment in the projects and to help secure Levelling Up funding.
Making the case for investment in these projects involved ascertaining evidence of the local challenges and barriers to growth that the bid was seeking to address. Evidence given was sourced mainly from ONS data and included jobs density, Index of Multiple Deprivation and claimant count data. Specific challenges identified were high rates of household unemployment and a high distribution of Torbay’s employment in sectors vulnerable to Covid-19 and Brexit impacts compared with the rest of the South West and the UK. As well as detailing how the projects will address these challenges and barriers, identifying market failure occurring in Torbay was a key requirement of the bid. Importantly, HJA set out how all projects contributed to local growth strategies, how they would deliver a visible impact to the local economy and promote net zero carbon growth. HJA also aligned the projects to national policy, ensuring the proposals would support objectives for investment, improving infrastructure and levelling up.
Ensuring compliance with HMT’s Green Book and MHCLG Appraisal Guidance, HJA calculated the projects’ value for money, which involved estimating the economic cost, an analysis of monetised costs and benefits and other non-monetised impacts the proposals would have. Forming part of HJA’s value for money calculation was an assessment of risks and uncertainties that could affect the bids overall value for money.