Blackpool's bid includes the Hawkins\Brown-designed Multiversity. Credit: via Blackpool Council

Levelling Up Fund: North West bids surpass £500m mark

The deadline for the second round of awards from the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund was 2 August. Here’s a look at the councils we know submitted bids, how much they asked for and for what projects.

  • This list is a work in progress. Spotted a council’s Levelling Up Fund bid that we missed? Let us know in the comments or email news@placenorthwest.co.uk.

Blackburn with Darwen Council – £40m

If successful, Blackburn with Darwen would receive £20m to help jumpstart its £250m masterplan for Blackburn town centre, which includes building a skills and education campus and business innovation district. The other £20m would go towards transport infrastructure improvements – namely upgrading Junction 5 of the M65.

Read more about Blackburn’s bid.

Blackpool Council – £63m

Blackpool has joined forces with Wyre to request £40m for the councils’ Multiversity scheme, which would create a university to help address the skills gap. If it is built, the Multiversity could teach 2,300 learners a year. Blackpool is also seeking £8m to restore and convert the grade two star-listed post office in town into a Hotel Indigo. The final project is to improve the transport network at Blackpool town centre, including enhancing walking, cycling and bus access.

Read more about Blackpool’s bid.

Bolton Council – £40m

Bolton is looking for support to deliver the regeneration of Bolton Town Centre and improvements to traffic flow along De Havilland Way. The town centre scheme includes converting the old Debenhams unit into a leisure facility, turning Le Mans Crescent into a four-star hotel, and improving wayfinding and public realm between Victoria Square and Nelson Square.

Read more about Bolton’s bid.

Cheshire West and Chester Council – £60m

A new road bridge across the River Weaver is the subject of one of CWAC’s bids for Levelling Up Fund cash. The project, which is looking for £50m from the government, is focused on the Winnington Corridor. With the building of a new road bridge, the existing listed bridge would be reserved for cyclists and pedestrians. The second scheme is to remediate a variety of brownfield sites around Civic Way and Coronation Road in Ellesmere Port to make way for low-carbon homes. The project also calls for the transformation of the Ellesmere Port market into a retail hub and the enhancement of the area’s public realm.

Chorley Council – £20m

The regeneration of Chorley town centre is the focus of Chorley Council’s Levelling Up Fund bid. This would be delivered via three projects: the development of a civic square on the former Buzz Bingo site and Cleveland Street car park, the redevelopment of the Bengal Street Depot site into apartments and a commercial unit, and creating a multi-use space by United Reform Church Hollinshead Centre with more public realm nearby.

Fylde Council – £13m

Fylde is seeking £13m to help create a flexible events space in St Annes, as well as to improve the public realm of the town. Fylde estimates that if it is successful with its funding request it could complete its projects by March 2025.

Hyndburn Council – £23m

The redevelopment of Accrington Market Hall, Burtons Chambers and Market Chambers is the subject of Hyndburn’s bid. Under the council’s proposals, Accrington Market Hall would become a high-end venue for eating, drinking and socialising that celebrated independent traders. Burtons Chambers would become a co-working space. Market Chambers would be transformed into a arts, culture and heritage venue with commercial space.

Knowsley Council – £43m

Knowsley is seeking funding for these projects: the regeneration of Huyton Village Centre, the restoration of the grade two-listed Picture Palace in Prescot and the improvement of connectivity, greenspace and leisure facilities in Halewood. The Picture Palace scheme is part of a joint bid with St Helens Council, which is hoping to turn its Gamble Building into a creative hub.

Read more about Knowsley’s bid.

Lancaster City Council – £50m

There will only be two £50m project awards from this round of the Levelling Up Fund and Lancaster City Council wants to claim one of those spots for Eden Project North in Morecambe. If successful, the £50m would make up half of the estimated £100m required to build Eden Project North. The Eden Project estimates the attraction would see 740,000 visitors a year and create 300 green jobs.

Read more about Eden Project North.

Lancashire County Council – £50m

Lancashire County Council has requested £50m for a series of projects centred around three themes: liveable neighbourhoods, public transport service improvements, and active travel. Initiatives include introducing real-time information at bus stops, improving walking and cycling routes, and enhancing and expanding the area’s green space offer.

The council said it would aim to finish its projects by late 2025 if it was successful in securing funding.

Manchester City Council – £20m

Wythenshawe is the focus of Manchester City Council’s bid for £20m. The money would go towards creating a culture hub, food hall and civic hub in the town, as well as improving the area’s public realm and office offerings. The culture hub would sit in the former Co-op department store and consist of artist studios, a community cinema, and a performance space.

Read more about Manchester’s plans for Wythenshawe.

Oldham Council – £40m

Oldham has made two bids for the Levelling Up Fund, each for £20m. The first is centred around Oldham East and Saddleworth and is comprised of three projects: creating a business centre to support startups focused on environment technology, starting the Northern Roots Learning Centre to educate people in green and sustainable skills, and providing a cycle and pedestrian route to link the two centres and Jubilee Park together.

The second big concerns Oldham West and Royton and is also comprised of three projects: transforming the Lyceum Theatre and Masonic Hall into a flexible workspace, re-opening the Old Library as a gallery and workshop space, and creating a flexible events space at Spindles Town Square.

Rochdale Council – £40m

Heywood and Middleton would benefit from half of Rochdale’s bid. The council is seeking £20m towards improving the highway network and cycling links in Heywood and Middleton, as well as the refurbishment of Heywood Civic Centre. The money would also go towards extending and reconfiguring the Arena arts and leisure complex in Middleton. The remaining £20m would assist two large Rochdale projects: Central Retail Park and Station Square.

Rossendale Council – £17m

Rawtenstall’s market would be reconfigured under Rossendale’s proposals for Levelling Up Funds. The £17m bid also includes transforming Bacup Market into a centre for skills training and improving the gyratory system in the town. Together, the council hopes these three projects will attract more businesses to the town and improve footfall in the town centre.

Sefton Council – £30.3m

Sefton faces a tough battle for a Levelling Up Fund win, as it is in the same category as City of London, Cambridge and Windsor. The council is making its case for £30.3m, of which £20m will go towards regenerating Bootle town centre. This includes redeveloping the 400,000 sq ft Strand shopping centre. The remaining £10.3m request is focused on Crosby Town Centre and the building of a learning, skills, health and well-being hub.

St Helens Council – £40m

Earlestown and St Helens are the focus of St Helens Council’s bid. The £20m bid for Earlestown is dedicated to three projects: restoring Earlestown Town Hall, revitalising the town’s market square, and bringing the Earlestown Rail Station back into use. The second £20m bid is done jointly with Knowsley Council. While Knowsley’s Council would use its share of the funds to restore the Picture Palace in Prescot, St Helens would use its money to restore the Gamble Building, turning it into a community hub.

Tameside Council – £35m

Tameside wants to use Levelling Up Fund money to improve Stalybridge and Denton. Of the £35m requested, the council wants to allocate £20m towards the delivery of a cultural quarter in Stalybridge Town Centre. The remaining fund would go towards improving the public realm and active travel options in Denton.

Read more about Tameside’s bid.

Trafford Council – £46m

Trafford has submitted three bids for Levelling Up Fund cash. The first is for £16m and focuses on Partington. Under the council’s proposals, this project would see the refurbishment of Partington Sports Village and Cross Lane changing rooms, as well as upgrades to Moss Lane Centre.

The second bid is for £10m and seeks to enhance the cultural offer of the area, including restoring Watling Gate in Newton Park so that it can be an exhibition and community space. The bid also calls for improving public areas and creating a Trafford Heritage Trail.

The third bid is all about Sale. Trafford is seeking £20m to improve the town’s public realm.

Read more about Trafford’s bids.

Warrington Council – £47m

Three bids – that was the number Warrington Council submitted to the Levelling Up Fund. The first calls for the building of an inclusive sports centre at Victoria Park with an indoor wheelchair sports hall and a Warrington Wolves training facility. That bid also seeks funds to improve Broomfields Leisure Centre (including the construction of a 20-metre swimming pool) and to build a performing arts centre in Lymm. Warrington is seeking £19.7m for this bid.

The second bid wants to create and enhance active travel routes between Burtonwood, Winwick, Culcheth and Warrington. This bid also includes upgrading the pavilion at Burtonwood Recreation Ground and extending Burtonwood Community Centre. This bid is for £9.4m.

The final bid focuses on improving the cycle network along the east to west corridor in Warrington, including providing fully segregated facilities to empower people to undertake walking and cycling journeys into the town centre. Warrington is asking for £17.5m for this scheme.

If funded, the council says all projects would be complete by March 2025.

Wigan Council – £38.6m

Wigan Council’s bid is focused on three projects to support Wigan, Leigh, and Ashton-in-Makerfield. The council is seeking £20m to restore and repurpose the grade two-listed Haigh Hall into a cultural destination with dining and hospitality spaces. Wigan also wants an electric train to connect the hall to the town centre.

The second project is looking for £11.4m from the fund, this will go towards turning Civic Square in Leigh into a community events space that is more pedestrian and cycle-friendly. The council also wants to refurbish the indoor market.

Ashton-in-Makerfield’s bid is for £7.2m. This would be used to improve the safety of Gerard Street and the shopfronts in Ashton. The council also wants to create a new market offer and community space.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

Shocking to see that Liverpool City Council didn’t even bother trying…

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous – To be clear: I have asked Liverpool City Council if they have submitted a bid and have not heard back from them. So I don’t think, at this point, it’s fair to say they didn’t bother trying. This list is very much a work in progress – I’m adding councils as I hear from them about their bids. Best – Julia

    By Julia Hatmaker

Is graduating from a multiversity university in Blackpool going to improve prospects for a young person in one of the most deprived areas in the uk ?

By Anonymous

Sefton is in exalted company? Is it really that wealthy? Manchester is in the same category as Oxford and Milton Keynes, so good luck Wythenshawe.

By Elephant

This is no way to run a country. no other countries to authorities enter competitions for random small pots of money. It means there’s no long term strategic capability, just pork-barrel politics.

By NJ

Trafford?

By Anonymous

    Added! Thanks – Julia

    By Julia Hatmaker

Northern Agenda did some work revealing that just about a third of all known LUF Round 1 bids in the north were successful. There’ll be more disappointed authorities this time around. But agree with other comments….this is no way to run regeneration. Give councils the ability to borrow and generate their own funds rather than this beauty contest.

By Sceptic

Wigan?

By Anonymous

    I’ve reached out to Wigan to get details – I hadn’t heard anything since early June when they did a consultation on their prospective bids! – Julia

    By Julia Hatmaker

    Just heard back from Wigan Council – have added!

    By Julia Hatmaker

Note Blackburn bid one of the few that seek to boost skills in their town centre . Also improving junction 5 of the m65 give access to large growing employment sites

By George

Confused that Bolton Council ‘missed’ the deadline in Round 1 for the Crompton Place project, but decided not to submit in Round 2.

Why didnt Bury Council submit anything?

By Anonymous

    Bury Council wasn’t eligible for round two funding as it had both of its Levelling Up Fund bids last year approved for the maximum amount, according to executive director of place Paul Lakin.

    By Julia Hatmaker

Where’s Liverpool? Surely they’re not going to miss the boat?

By Anthony

Stockport will have submitted one

By Anonymous

Salford?

By Anonymous

West Lancs???

By CJ

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