UK Budget: Councils welcome Levelling Up funding boost

UK Budget: Councils welcome Levelling Up funding boost


Arbroath is to benefit from ‘endowment-style’ funding and support worth up to £20 million to deliver projects over the ten-year lifespan of the UK Levelling Up The Long-Term Plan for Towns fund, chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced yesterday.

The fund is designed to help local people decide on local priorities and what is best for the long-term future of the places in which they live.

Angus Council leader Cllr Beth Whiteside said: “This Spring Budget announcement provides a welcome investment into our largest urban area.

“We have already committed to the Arbroath Places for Everyone project worth £14m which will support regeneration of the town centre and encourage active travel so we hope that this additional funding will help us to capitalise on that work.

“We hope that this will also mean that we can focus our existing capital funds on other parts of Angus which also desperately need investment.”

CEO of Angus Council Mrs Kathryn Lindsay said: “This funding has come to us due to a shift in the demographics used for profiling Levelling Up investment for which only Arbroath qualifies within Angus.

“We are now keen to explore the detail of the terms of the fund, and how we can support the people of Arbroath, and indeed Angus, to best maximise the opportunities that this unexpected investment will bring.”

Welcoming the levelling up investment in Arbroath, Michael Gove MP said: “It is fantastic that the UK Government has been able to extend our Long Term Plan for Towns to a further three Scottish towns. This means that we are now investing £200m in ten Scottish towns over the next decade.

“It is very exciting that we are spending £20m to help with levelling up in Arbroath. This is all about giving towns the tools to change their future. Many UK towns face similar challenges, and we know that people want to see more investment in regenerating their high streets and town centres. I look forward to working with Angus Council as we develop a plan to help Arbroath, and its elected representatives, tackle the issues that matter most to the people that live there.”

The chancellor also announced that Perth is to receive £5m of capital funding to support culture and regeneration projects.

Alison Williams, director of economy, place and learning with Perth and Kinross Council, said: “We welcome this additional investment announced by the Chancellor in today’s Budget which will support our ambitious plans to transform the economy of Perth and Kinross.

“We submitted two strong bids to the Levelling Up Fund and while we were disappointed these were not successful, we are pleased the UK Government has recognised the value of our plans to regenerate our town centres and economy for the benefit of all our residents and visitors to Perth and Kinross.”

Perth and Kinross Council leader Councillor Grant Laing said: “I welcome any funding that can be used to support the transformation of the Perth and Kinross economy for the benefit of our residents.

“While I am pleased the chancellor has finally recognised the value of investing in Perth and Kinross, it does seem like we are an afterthought and are losing out compared to what other Scottish cities received through Levelling Up Funding.

“The three rounds of Levelling Up Funding distributed in Scotland saw £471m shared between 24 projects. Six other Scottish cities have shared funding worth a combined £92m while seven other towns have received £20m to support the regeneration of their town centres.

“Given those sums, I won’t be the only one who thinks we have been short-changed and hope we are not forgotten in any future funding announcements.”

UK Budget: Councils welcome Levelling Up funding boost

Riverside Park in Glenrothes

Meanwhile, an ambitious programme of improvements which aims to regenerate Riverside Park in Glenrothes has been given the go ahead by councillors.

Members of Fife Council’s Cabinet Committee have approved plans to use almost £5m of funding secured from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Funding to improve and develop the park to make it a ‘must visit’ destination for residents and tourists alike.

The project was identified as part of the Glenrothes Town Centre Masterplan. This investment will restore the quality of the park, keep - and indeed build upon - its three-star visitor attraction status, and encourage more people to come and visit the park and the wider area.

Councillor Altany Craik, Fife Council spokesperson for Finance, Economy and Strategic Planning, said the Levelling Up Fund grant will help the park realise its true potential.

“The park already boasts numerous attractive features, but this significant investment thanks to the Levelling Up Fund will enhance its appeal to both locals and visitors alike,” he explained.

“We’ve worked with the Friends of Riverside Park in the design and delivery of this project to build on the strengths and ambitions of people in the area, and the park’s regeneration will allow a greater number of people to have full use of the park and its facilities which can only be a good thing.

“We all want to make sure Riverside Park is a place we all can be proud of for generations to come, and I’m looking forward to seeing the plans come to fruition.”

A new £1m play park is planned to provide enhanced play equipment, while a new pump (cycling) track will be fully accessible and capable of hosting international competitions.

Pond works to improve environmental quality and sustainability have already begun, but money will also be spent on enhanced park entrances, better signage, improved access, and upgrades to footpaths, street lighting, and the car park.

Fife Council was awarded £19.41m towards its River Leven Regeneration Programme by the Levelling Up Funding last year, with a £4.98m bid for the Riverside Park works as part of it.

Cllr Craik continued: “Our successful levelling up funding bid not only provides a great opportunity to regenerate, upgrade and improve Riverside Park, but it also helps us minimise annual maintenance requirements for several years.”

Construction work will take place throughout 2024 and into early 2025. There will be regular updates provided for users of the park and the Glenrothes community.

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