Yesterday’s Budget included details of the first 105 projects that have secured investment from the Levelling Up Fund.
Announced in the Spring Budget earlier this year, the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund invests in infrastructure to “improve everyday life across the UK”. This includes including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets. Bids were made by local authorities to HM Treasury.
The investments, which total more than £1.7 billion, have been awarded across the UK with the biggest grant, worth £49.6m to Derbyshire County Council for the South Derby growth zone and infinity garden village. The project will deliver 4,750 new homes and 5,000 new jobs. It is one of 14 garden villages to be built across England.
The second largest grant is for the Isles of Scilly which has secured £48m towards replacing vessels and improve harbour in the islands. The third largest was for Renfrewshire Council in Scotland, which received £38.7m for its travel links improvement project, AMIDS South.
In the North East, the UK’s oldest road suspension bridge will be reopened over the river Tees. In the North West, Liverpool will receive £37m for active travel projects. In Yorkshire there are funds for regeneration projects in Hull, Bradford and Rotherham. In the Midlands, funds for road and rail schemes in Leicester, Nottingham and Lincolnshire, as well as a host of cultural projects.
In London, £19.8m has been granted to Newham for active travel links, in the East, Southend-on-Sea will see investment in its coastal attractions and in Kent, more than Transforming five hectares of brownfield into Ashford International Film Studios.
A number of vibrant cultural projects have been financed in Wales and the electric vehicle charging network will be upgraded across Northern Ireland.
Alongside the Levelling Up Fund, the Treasury also announced details of the Community Ownership Fund investments and City Region Transport Settlements.
ACE’s Director of Policy, Matthew Farrow, recently criticised the “myriad of small scale funding schemes that local authorities have to bid for” and argued that “too many councils spent far too much time chasing small pots of money with strings attached, which actually distract them from developing an effective and realistic regeneration strategy”.
He argued that a more effective approach could be for the recently established National Infrastructure Bank to become the vehicle for pulling these funding streams into a coherent whole.
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