Heart of the South West Devolution - Newsletter 18

Leaders for the Heart of the South West

April 2019

This is our latest update following the Joint Committee’s meeting on 29 March 2019.

Heart of the South West (HotSW) Delivery Plan

We have endorsed an updated Delivery Plan which is the live action plan that will deliver our Productivity Strategy and allow us to track our performance in achieving our aspirations. The Plan will continue to be updated as projects are delivered and programmes progressed. It has taken a huge commitment by partners to get the Plan to this point – it is wide and diverse in scope and details current and planned activity. It is broadly divided into:

  • ‘core offer’ – of programmes to deliver business support and employment and skills
  • ‘enablers’ – including housing delivery, transport, and other infrastructure essential to support economic growth.
  • programmes of activity (our ‘opportunities’) specific to the HotSW area. 

The first iteration of the Plan was endorsed by the Committee in the autumn of 2018 and covered the ‘opportunities’ which were most advanced at that stage:

  • Digital (photonics)
  • Advanced Engineering (marine and nuclear)
  • High Value Tourism
  • Farming, Fishing and Food. 

This second edition has updated the content on the opportunities set out above and has been expanded to include:

  • Creative
  • Big Data
  • Aerospace
  • Healthy Ageing
  • Defence
  • Construction. 

The Plan will be refreshed in six months time to show progress and to reflect development linked to the Local Industrial Strategy and other policy agendas. 

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has led the development of the Plan and its delivery is the responsibility of both the Joint Committee and the LEP convening and commissioning work through a wide range of partners.   

Stepping up to the challenge front cover


Following the HotSW Housing Summit in September 2018, we established a Housing Task Force to work with Homes England to develop a holistic approach across the HotSW to promote quality housing growth in support of increased productivity. Government support is essential to address blockages to growth and allow our economic potential to be realised.

At our March meeting we agreed recommendations to pursue an area-based package of measures to accelerate housing delivery and to include:

  • resourcing of a strategic delivery team to bring forward development propositions by providing additional officer capacity to supplement the thin officer resource in the constituent authorities.
  • a major infrastructure fund to unlock sites and accelerate growth
  • a small schemes liquidity fund to bring forward stalled small and medium-scale sites.

This package of measures will now be used to engage with Government and its agencies, including Homes England, to try and secure a bespoke deal for the HotSW area. Our plans and proposals are ambitious and we hope that the Government will respond positively. However, we recognise that our approach doesn’t fit within the known parameters of ‘deals’ that the Government may ordinarily find acceptable but we feel that it is worth pursuing as other initiatives have not managed to tackle the problems that we have identified.


Exiting the EU (Supporting the Heart of the South West) - ‘Asks’ of Government

We continue to press Government for greater engagement and involvement on the implications of Brexit for our constituent authorities, local communities and businesses. As part of this work the Committee has agreed an ‘offer’ to Government and a list of ‘asks’ to assist preparations and enable us to take advantage of policy opportunities arising post Brexit.

Our offer is based on working jointly with the Government to provide local capacity and expertise in key areas of policy and services to help a smooth transition and capitalise on the opportunities for communities and businesses in the HotSW area.

Our ‘asks’ of Government focus on:

  • transfer of key powers from central to local government post Brexit with associated funding,
  • agreement to co-design with Government a ‘Stronger Places’ proposal to support areas severely disadvantaged from Brexit and the loss of EU funding and to include a Tourism Zone designation bid for Torbay, to reinforce our ‘Coastal Communities’ work.
  • assisting with the design of post-Brexit funding packages such as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Infrastructure and Housing spend; and the replacement of subsidies for fishing and farming to deliver our priorities.
  • funding for new burdens resulting from Brexit
  • Working with us to develop a package of support for HotSW businesses in a post-Brexit economy
  • An offer to work with ferry ports across the south coast such as Plymouth, Poole and Portsmouth to develop additional longer-term ferry capacity for the UK
  • A request to Defra to work with the French authorities to establish Border Inspection Points in Plymouth and Roscoff
  •  Engagement with us to develop a range of policies to deliver our growth and productivity ambitions through legislative change post-Brexit, eg on immigration, fisheries and agriculture.
  • For Homes England to work with us to ensure that bespoke place-based measures are developed to stimulate the housing market to offset any slow-down resulting from Brexit.
  • A request to Government to commit to continuing Interreg and other European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) programmes which have benefitted the South-West over the years and to include the vital funding for scientific research and development.