Home Business and economy Cabinet approve submission of Round 2 Levelling Up funding bids

Cabinet approve submission of Round 2 Levelling Up funding bids

by Emily Maguire

Cabinet has today approved the submission of three Round 2 Levelling Up fund bids from Knowsley Council for this latest funding window.

The Government fund is intended to support investment in places where it can make the biggest difference to everyday life. However, despite a strong Round 1 funding bid for Huyton and being identified by the Government as being a Priority One area (an area with the highest levels of identified needs), the bid was unsuccessful.

Three bids will now be ready and submitted for Round 2 – Huyton, Halewood and Prescot (a joint bid with St Helens Council). The three bids represent all three Parliamentary constituency areas in the Borough.

The three investment themes set by Government remain as local transport projects, town centre and high street regeneration and cultural and heritage assets. The assessment process for Round 2 will also remain the same and will focus on deliverability, value for money, and strategic fit.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said “Despite the Government’s clear commitment to “level up” places like Knowsley, the Borough has to date not been allocated any funding under either the Future High Streets Fund, the Towns Fund, or Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund. At the same time, many less deprived places have been supported by the Government.”

Halewood bid

Halewood is currently undergoing major growth with over 1,300 new homes being constructed in the East of Halewood. The community has expressed a requirement for improved open space and leisure provision alongside better sustainable transport connectivity. In response, the Council is developing a bid to the Levelling Up Fund which would provide for significantly improved leisure provision, green space, and local District Centre facilities. The bid will also include a package of sustainable transport interventions (including walking and cycling routes) which would contribute to the local network within the area, making new and existing homes well connected to the improved local facilities and nearby employment areas.

Huyton Village Centre bid

Huyton Village Centre’s bid focusses on the delivery of a new mixed-use commercial district with opportunities for a hotel, office space, co-working centre, and residential accommodation. It will be set around an attractive new Village Green which will connect improved public spaces, an improved station gateway area and high quality event spaces on Derby Road. These investment opportunities will be supported by excellent transport access by road, bus, and rail, and will be a catalyst for further development in the Village Centre.  The proposed development could bring up to 1,700 new jobs and a £50m per year spending boost to the local economy.

Prescot bid

Prescot Town Centre falls within the St Helens South and Whiston Parliamentary Constituency. Where a Constituency area crosses local authority boundaries, each local authority can choose to submit a joint or individual bid for the area. Prescot and St Helens Town Centres have many historic, cultural, and industrial connections and there are many synergies in terms of crossborder economic activity, residential catchment, and provision of local retail and services. As such, there is a strong case for a cross-boundary bid which fits within the investment themes set out in the prospectus. Improvements in Prescot are well advanced and include the Prescot Townscape Heritage Initiative, Prescot Heritage Action Zone Programme and the construction of The Shakespeare North Playhouse.

The Council has ambitious plans to drive further investment in Prescot Town Centre and deliver the Prescot Town Centre Masterplan, further improving the lives of local residents and strengthening the town’s developing position as a key visitor attraction in the Liverpool City Region. The proposed Levelling Up Fund bid will focus on supporting the Prescot Picture Palace (a Grade II listed building) and the public realm to support the cultural and leisure offer around this area creating strong links to the Shakespeare North Playhouse and maximising the benefits from this new visitor attraction.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, added “True levelling up should mean that funding is allocated based on need. We have huge ambitions for our Borough and securing Levelling Up funding would significantly help us to accelerate the delivery of those plans for the benefit of everyone who lives, works, visitors or invests in Knowsley.”

The closing date for Round 2 bids is 6 July 2022.