Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Levelling Up Fund Round 2 Submission for South
The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder presented a report on the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) bid. The report sought to enable a submission to be made to Round Two of the Levelling Up Fund for South Lakeland. If successful, the bid would bring significant investment into the district’s principle service centre of Kendal, meeting the Council’s aspirations in its Kendal Town Centre Strategy and delivery of a vibrant, enhanced town centre for residents, businesses and visitors.
The Economy Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder highlighted the considerable consultation and discussion which had taken place in order to progress the bid. LUF funding was for capital schemes encompassing transport, culture or regeneration, with one successful application allowed per local authority area, proposals were able to seek up to £20 million of investment.
While funding had been allocated following a competitive process, across the UK places have been prioritised for funding by the Government following a qualitative assessment process. South Lakeland had been identified as “Category 3”, lowest priority of need. Bids would also be evaluated based on the other Fund criteria of strategic fit, value for money and deliverability.
The application centred around two projects, Project A covered Town Centre regeneration which included:-
(1) New education accommodation at the Westmorland Shopping Centre, creating a third campus for Kendal College;
(2) Regeneration of the historic Market Hall; and
(3) Regeneration of the Marker Place.
Project B covered the Riverside Corridor which included enhancement of the riverside active travel route, from Abbot Hall, alongside Waterside and linking to the town centre via Kent Street.
The proposals were intended to support the evolution of Kendal and reinforce its role as a place to live, work and explore. It was considered that these measures would enable the district as a whole to better meet the needs of younger people and business and further embedding education in the heart of the town.
In response to a question regarding the inclusion of Ulverston in this project, the Senior Specialist (Economy and Culture) informed Members that Simon Fell MP who represented Ulverston had supported a bid for Barrow for his constituency and for South Lakeland, officers had considered Kendal as the best option.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the submission of a Levelling Up Fund Round 2 bid for South Lakeland be agreed, on the basis of the proposals set out in this report; and
(2) the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) be authorised to sign a statement of compliance to accompany the bid.
Reasons for Decision
The proposals linked to the following Council Plan priorities:-
Working across boundaries – Securing investment and delivering inclusive economic growth in South Lakeland’s principal service centre of Kendal, building the local knowledge and skills base and improving town centre infrastructure;
Delivering a balanced community – Providing a town centre for all ages, improving conditions for enterprise and increasing learning and development opportunities for students, helping to attract and retain more young people;
A fairer South Lakeland – An enhanced town centre offer and improved accessibility to services, with greater economic and social opportunities for all. Building closer links between further education and businesses and providing more affordable space for start-ups; and
Addressing the climate emergency – A more attractive town centre with cleaner air, improved environment and quality of life. Investment into active travel route along river corridor to encourage modal shift and help towards South Lakeland’s carbon neutral target.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Not to proceed with a submission for Levelling Up Fund Round 2 on the basis of these proposals. There is insufficient time to develop an alternative bid to meet the deadline so no bid would therefore go forward for South Lakeland. Government has advised that there is no guarantee of further rounds of the Fund so there may be no opportunity to bid again in the future. As such, the recommendation is to proceed as described in this report.
Report author: Matthew Williams
Publication date: 12/08/2022
Date of decision: 04/07/2022
Decided at meeting: 04/07/2022 - Cabinet