Flintshire lines up LUF bid

The North Wales borough is looking to harness Levelling Up Fund support to establish a park of regional stature along the Dee Estuary and regenerate its coastal communities.

Flintshire’s cabinet meets on Tuesday 18 January and will be asked to sign off two bids to round two of the Levelling Up Fund.

A report for the meeting outlines how council officers believe a strategic framework of opportunities along the Dee, first explored with partners including TEP in 2014 and tentatively named Flintshire Coast Park, should be explored again in light of what is on offer through the £4.8bn LUF programme.

The local authority is classed in the middle of the government’s categorisation system, which divides councils into three groupings based on the level of need. However, with a focus on industrial areas, deprived towns and coastal communities, Flintshire believes it can make a good case.

At this stage, it is unclear whether or not the same criteria will be used as in round one, where applying councils had to demonstrate how their bid aligned with one or more of three areas: regeneration & town centre investment, cultural investment and transport.

Among bidders from the region, Sefton acknowledged the flaws in part of its bid in December, as officers looked to formulate a more appealing bid this time round. Flintshire was also unsuccessful at that stage, having bid jointly with Transport for Wales for improvements to the Wrexham-Liverpool railway. In all, the region secured £232m through LUF round one.

In round two, Flintshire intends to lodge bids for both the Delyn and Alyn & Deeside constituencies, “informed by a single vision for our coastal communities”.

Bids are currently being worked up, with consultation on and costings for shortlisted interventions taking place.

In Delyn, potential interventions include improvements to business areas Flint Castle Park and Greenfield Business Park, investment in Greenfield Valley Heritage Park including a mseum, and walking and cycling improvements in Flint and Bagillt.

In Alyn & Deeside, possible projects include Connah’s Quay dock and the restoration of the John Summer Clocktower and social club area, and a purpose-built centre for the Sea Cadets and improving coast path access.

Tourism is a big driver for the project. As the report says, “the strategy has a strong focus on supporting the development of a Flintshire Coast Park, including the creation of small scale visitor infrastructure along the Dee coastline, and plans for wider place-building activities”.

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