Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands is to invest £370,000 into an industrial estate in Stourport.

It is part of a £600,000 project to transform it from a neglected and dangerous place into a high-quality development aimed at encouraging more businesses into the area.

The Sandy Lane Industrial Estate, built in the early 1960s, is home to 98 businesses and around 800 staff are employed at the site.

However, despite its significant contribution to the local economy, over the last few years the complex has fallen into a state of neglect and businesses are under continual threat from petty crime which has become prevalent in the local area.

This spiralling decline has led to the exodus of a number of firms, with many more looking to move.

Now the Rural Regeneration Zone, funded by AWM, has pledged £276,000 towards improvements.

Stourport-on-Severn's market towns programme - Stourport Forward - also funded by AWM, will contribute another £92,000.

Other funding contributions include up to £198,000 from Worcestershire County Council and up to £32,500 from Wyre Forest District Council.

Peter Pawsey, executive chairman of the RGZ, said: "It is absolutely vital, both for retaining and also attracting new businesses, that we invest in and create high-quality facilities and accommodation for industry.

"The project will help to stop an exodus of businesses from the Sandy Lane site and will make the business park a much safer and more pleasant place to work and visit. This investment will have a positive knock-on effect on the local economy and will also restore pride for the people of Stourport."

Bill Ward, chairman of the Sandy Lane Business Association, added: "My grandfather was one of the first people to build a business on the estate in 1963.

"The association was formed in 2000 as part of a West Mercia Police initiative and we are delighted

that the business community's commitment to work with our partners in resolving the problems on Sandy Lane has been recognised through these grant awards."

Vanessa Emery, managing director of British Business Parks, said: "We have been working with the businesses on Sandy Lane Industrial Estate since 2002 and the award of this funding is a testament to the true spirit of partnership.

"It is intended that the project will build upon the good work being under-taken by Stouport Forward and also support the regeneration activity on other local, county-wide and region-wide initiatives on industrial estates."