Cathy Elliott, currently Chief Executive of Community Foundations for Lancashire & Merseyside, is to be the Independent Chair of the panel overseeing the delivery of the HS2 Community and Business Funds.
The £30m programme will offer additional support to communities and local economies, which are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of the planned high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands.
There are two funds available. The Community and Environment Fund (CEF) will provide benefits to local communities along the 140-mile Phase One section of the network between London and the West Midlands.
This will be in addition to the comprehensive mitigation already set out in the Bill currently going through Parliament.
Secondly, the Business and Local Economy Fund will support and promote local economies that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2.
Both will be available after the Parliamentary Bill is granted Royal Assent, currently scheduled for the end of 2016.
Welcoming the appointment, HS2 Ltd CEO, Simon Kirby said:
This is an important stage in the development of two funding programmes that will offer extra help to those that are directly impacted by the construction of this much-needed new rail network.
Cathy’s considerable experience and leadership will help make sure that we put in place a grants programme that really delivers on its aims.
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said:
These funds are a vital part of our commitment to listening to communities that are affected by HS2, and building this railway in the right way to maximise benefits for everyone.
I welcome Cathy Elliott in her new role as Chair of these two very important initiatives, her extensive experience will be a real asset to the panel, and will help to ensure eligible communities and businesses receive the additional support available to them.
The Chair is expected to work up to 15 days over the first year while the funds are being further developed.
Her first task will be to work with project sponsor HS2 Ltd to finalise the eligibility criteria for the funds and recruit other members of the Board, along with the management body that will administer the grants.
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