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In an effort to boost economic growth and urban renewal, the government has chosen 111 local council projects to receive financial support. A total of £2.1bn has being allocated for round two of the government’s ‘levelling up’ funding. The projects will include £10m for Barking and Dagenham to provide 316 new homes and protect 241 jobs. The ‘Up the Heathway’ project will see improvements to its public spaces, with a view to reducing crime.
Other projects included in the 111 include proposed Eden Project North visitor attraction in Morecambe, Cardiff City Council’s Crossrail phase one project, and a new train service in Cornwall. Each of these will receive £50m of Treasury funds while a university campus in Blackpool and projects in Peterborough and Dover will get £40m each. A new roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle in the Shetland Islands will be possible thanks to funding of almost £27m. Other locations will receive money towards things like improved transport links, community regeneration and local heritage restoration.
These allocations follow the £1.7bn granted to 105 projects from round one of the levelling up fund in 2021. A further round of funding at a later date has been confirmed by the government. There is however a catch to this funding, it must be spent by March 2025 or local authorities will not receive any of it.
Peter Hogg, Arcadis UK cities director, and adviser to local authorities about their bids, said: “The deadline for spending the money of March 2025 is a challenging one – particularly as inflation has soared in the interim. “Authorities will need to rapidly move projects through the design phases, complete any land acquisition, secure planning approvals, appoint contractors and move into delivery. No mean feat, especially with no shortage of competing priorities for local government time and resources.”