HUNDREDS of new jobs for Holsworthy are on the cards with confirmation this week of a £400,000 investment in the town.
The funding will mean land surrounding the new Holsworthy Agricultural Business Centre can be opened up for development.
The money was confirmed on Tuesday by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
It is part of a £2.9m investment that is expected to create more than 700 jobs across Devon and Somerset.
The money is from the Rural Growth Network initiative and has been approved by Defra.
It is expected the money will act as a catalyst, opening up additional funding for a number of existing large scale projects, allowing them to proceed.
At the Holsworthy Agricultural Business Centre the £400,000 will go towards opening up the surrounding land of the site for development and adding infrastructure to the site. It is predicted this will create 300 direct jobs and 219 indirect – a total of 519.
At Opportunity Okehampton, £150,000 will go towards developing a site next to Okehampton Business Centre, for business expansion and growth. It is predicted Phase 1 of this scheme will create 123 direct jobs and 48 indirect making 171 in all. Phase 2 is predicted to create 223 direct jobs and 132 indirect, making 355 in total.
Work on the new Agricultural Business Centre is expected to start soon.
The new centre will provide advice and support for the agricultural industry as well as being the regular livestock market and offices for auctioneers and other agricultural businesses. Eighteen acres around the centre are earmarked for development to generate jobs.
Tim Jones, who chairs the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said yesterday: “This funding is a vital lifeline for our rural communities and economy.
"It represents a major commitment to achieve growth throughout Devon and Somerset and is designed to reach the most remote rural communities.
“It is vital that we enhance the enormous potential of our many rural enterprises and encourage the growth of new rural businesses.
"Improving our business productivity, supporting business growth, protecting existing employment and creating new jobs will all be assisted through this programme.
"We are determined to ensure that the interests of the rural economy are fully supported through our initiatives.”
Former Holsworthy mayor Richard Brown is delighted at the prospect of new job opportunities coming to the town.
He said: “The Agri-business Centre is a culmination of the years of hard work put in by myself, colleagues and the late Councillor Des Shadrick. I am pleased to see the project coming to fruition.
“Holsworthy is so entwined with agriculture. It can stay on top of agriculture in the 21st century . The creation of more jobs is vital, especially in these hard times. Congratulations to all involved. This is great news for Holsworthy.”
LEP Board Member and Devon county councillor Will Mumford said: “This is a fantastic investment for rural Devon and Somerset – the money will help businesses overcome barriers and create new job opportunities.
"Rural areas are vital to the economy of both Devon and Somerset and it’s important that we invest funding effectively to ensure economic growth.”
“This is a fantastic investment for rural Devon and Somerset.”