Coventry and Warwickshire LEP closes its doors

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) has closed after 12 years of operating.

The government’s announcement in the Levelling-Up White Paper that LEPs in England are to integrate into local democratic institutions has led to the official closure of CWLEP which formed a partnership between private and public sectors.

According to CWLEP it has brought £191m of Government investment to Coventry and Warwickshire since 2011 matched with £407.4m from the private sector.

Among the projects CWLEP has enabled are the Coventry Station Masterplan, Kenilworth Station, North Warwickshire’s Arts Challenge, and WCG’s Trident Centre covering transport, skills, and cultural regeneration. CWLEP has also supported new housing, new business start-up and grow-on space, and given buildings, like Nuneaton’s Catalyst and the RSC’s Costume Workshop, a new lease of life.

The CWLEP Growth Hub will continue to provide its independent business-led support service as a community interest company.

Sarah Windrum, appointed CWLEP chair in 2021, said: “By bringing together local authorities, district and borough councils, businesses, education and healthcare representatives across both Coventry and Warwickshire, we became one of the leading LEPs in England for our pro-active partnership approach.

“We used our ability to direct investment funds to projects which mattered, to all corners of the region and the economy, from the Very Light Rail scheme in Coventry and delivering a world-class venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Victoria Park, Leamington Spa to improving the Coton Arches in Nuneaton and Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon.

“One of our major successes with our co-ordinated approach which impressed Government was to bring the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre to our area which is providing global-leading research and development into battery technologies and production.

“But the strength of CWLEP has been about far more than money. It is fair to say that before the organisation was established, Coventry & Warwickshire wasn’t a single economic geography and often viewed as two entities.

“Despite the symbiotic relationship, they were kept apart by administrative boundaries and political colour and the creation of CWLEP helped to sweep those divisions aside.
“The same can be said of the public and private sectors. Since the birth of CWLEP, there has been an enhanced mutual understanding which has made aiming for common goals easier and more effective.

“CWLEP created a series of business groups, mostly defined by sectors such as digital creative and culture and tourism, that increased intelligence sharing and co-operation and brought far more cohesion between various parties. These groups achieved their own objectives including raising awareness of creative freelancers during the pandemic and supporting the Commonwealth Games Cultural programme.

“Government and the economy are often cyclical and change is inevitable. We believe we have laid the foundations for Coventry and Warwickshire’s future success over the last 12 years, and CWLEP has proved its value in many different ways.

“Our work to provide businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire with the best possible advice, guidance and support will continue via the Growth Hub to help companies manage the challenges ahead and seize the opportunities for growth.”

The Growth Hub will also integrate Coventry & Warwickshire Champions and Coventry & Warwickshire Place Board with the new group initially funded by legacy money from CWLEP and Local Authorities.


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