Levelling Up Funding Allocated and Bidding for Brownfield Release Funding Begins
On 18 January we discovered the list of projects to benefit from funding from Round 2 of the government’s Levelling Up Fund. Headlines covered the award of money to Morecambe’s Eden Project North, the Fair Isle ferry and the controversial improvements to Cattrick town centre in Rishi Sunak’s constituency. They also criticised decisions to award Tory areas funds over more deprived areas.
£1.2 billion will be split between 111 projects. This sounds like a significant sum, with a range of projects across the country to benefit. However, is the money really sufficient to generate step-change and achieve this elusive levelling up? The fund ends up spread quite thin. Would it be wiser, although less politically popular, to select fewer areas to bestow with funds, yet really achieve change in some areas? The nature of the process also necessitates local authorities diverting resources to preparing bids. Resources that are strained at best. Local authorities are thought to have spent £27 million on preparing bids (around half of that sum came from their own budgets and the rest from central government funding). This is poor value for unsuccessful bidders, some of whom are complaining about a lack of feedback.
A map showing the levelling up projects in particular areas is available here: https://levellingup.campaign.gov.uk/projects-near-me/
Continuing the competitive approach, the period during which bids for a share of £60 million from the Brownfield Release Fund, Round 2 has commenced.
The purpose of the funding is to support the release of council-owned brownfield land for housing. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities expects the funds to deliver 5,800 homes by March 2027 and create around 18,000 jobs in the construction and housing industry.
Government revealed the winning councils from Round 1 of the funding late last year. £35 million was shared between 41 councils, with an expected return of 2,200 homes, of those 800 affordable.
Bidding for Round 2 closes on 31 March 2023, with news on the successful applicants expected in the summer.
Posted on 01/31/2023 by Ortolan