Burnley and Pendle could benefit from £50m. of 'Levelling Up' funding as deadline approaches

Lancashire's £50m bid to the Government's Levelling Up Fund is edging closer, with senior councillors set discuss the county council's plans this week ahead of the July deadline.

If Lancashire's bid is successful, it could secure up to £50m. to develop a range of complementary projects that would significantly improve the quality of life and opportunities for people across East Lancashire.

At its next meeting on Thursday, Lancashire County Council's cabinet will discuss details of the emerging submission to Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund.

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The county council has already assessed which areas would be helped most by the fund, looking at levels of employment, health, physical activity, air quality, car ownership, road accidents, walking and cycling, and bus and rail services.

Burnley and Pendle could benefit from the Levelling Up FundBurnley and Pendle could benefit from the Levelling Up Fund
Burnley and Pendle could benefit from the Levelling Up Fund

Parts of East Lancashire will be the most likely to benefit and have the greatest potential to meet the fund’s objectives.

In April, the county council ran a public consultation that captured residents' views on the issues faced in their communities and potential transport interventions. Responses from an online survey, along with comments made in focus groups and on social media, will help shape the final proposals.

An optioneering process has already considered more than 600 potential transport schemes county-wide. An appraisal process, assessing their deliverability and fit with the fund's objectives and priorities, has concluded on three interventions in the four East Lancashire districts of Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale.

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The three themes, and the fund objectives each are designed to deliver, are:

Liveable Neighbourhoods – making places investable, by connecting places and communities, providing access to jobs, offering a sense of place and commercial attractiveness, and improving active travel in high streets and residential areas.

Public Transport Service Improvements – additional to the above, improving public transport facilities, and improving journey times to economic opportunities.

Active Travel – additionally, by improving sustainable access connecting existing and proposed routes for leisure purposes, increasing walking and cycling footfall, and improving health and well-being.

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Work on the details of the interventions for each theme are still being developed.

On Thursday, Lancashire County Council's cabinet is expected to authorise the Executive Director of Growth, Environment and Transport, in consultation with the cabinet member for economic development and growth, to submit the funding application by July 6th.

County Coun. Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: "A huge amount of work has been undertaken to identify the areas that would benefit the most from the Levelling Up Fund, and in determining the most effective way to use this money to meet the needs of our communities.

"Crucially, whatever we include in our bid must be deliverable and must also meet the fund's core objectives. We are still assessing this, taking into consideration the feedback from our recent consultation.

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"Thank you to everyone who took part in this important exercise – your collective voices are helping to shape our proposals, ready for the final submission to Government next month."

If Lancashire's bid is successful, more detailed proposals will be developed with input from partners and with close engagement with residents, organisations and businesses.