HUNDREDS of delegates at the second Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal conference have been told delivery of schemes under the £394.5m scheme will start next year.

The event, held at Slaley Hall last Monday, showcased the steps the partnership has taken so far and gave stakeholders the opportunity to give feedback.

Earlier this year the five councils which make up the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal signed the ‘heads of terms’, securing £85m from the Scottish Government, £265m from UK Government and £44.5m from the local authorities.

The Borderlands Partnership includes Northumberland County Council, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, and Scottish Borders Council.

The conference attracted more than 300 delegates, who heard that detailed work is now taking place on business cases, which would then need to be approved by government before money is released for projects.

Specific funding has been confirmed for some projects, including £8m for a Dairy Innovation Centre in Dumfries and Galloway, £10m to support natural capital innovation across the Borderlands region, £19m for the Mountain Biking Innovation Centre at Glentress in the Borders, £15m for Carlisle Station in Cumbria, £5m for Alnwick Garden in Northumberland. A feasibility study into the extension of the Borders Railway from Carlisle to Tweedbank will also be funded to the tune of £10m.

The deal will also mean an investment of £31m in green energy projects,

Director at the Northern Powerhouse, Henri Murison, addressed the conference and said the cross-border deal would allow local authorities to work together to lever funding to benefit communities.

A spokesman for the Borderlands Partnership said: “The fact more than 300 delegates attended from across the north of England and south of Scotland shows how much passion and commitment there is for this deal.

“We still face challenges, but we need to send home the message: the Borderlands economy isn’t broken, it’s just different and requires investment.”

It is anticipated the deal will deliver an extra 5,500 jobs, attract over four million extra tourists and boost the region’s economy by £1.1bn.