Desmond's Luton move a Regional Growth Fund winner

Express Newspapers proprietor Richard Desmond looks set to be an indirect beneficiary of a winning Regional Growth Fund bid.

The Government yesterday announced 199 successful bidders for £1.4bn of funding. Among them was Luton Borough Council.

According to Property Week, the council had applied for £19.5m along with industrial developer Prologis to pay for infrastructure improvements to junction 10a of the M1.

Property Week reports that this winning bid clears the way for Desmond’s proposed 120,000 square feet development next to Luton Airport to house staff relocated from his printing company West Ferry.

Inadequate road infrastructure had been flagged as a stumbling block for the development by the Highways Agency.

The cost of road improvements has been valued at £26.5m, with only £3m forthcoming from developers and the council – Property Week reports.

The outline planning application for Northern and Shell Media City shows areas for printing, publishing, editorial and other offices. The development could pave the way for the move of the entire Northern and Shell publishing operation from Lower Thames Street in the City of London to Luton.

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