Proposals for infrastructure works worth £100m in Lancaster, and a £132m bid for an East-West road network between Wigan and Bolton, have both made it through to the next stage of the Government’s multi-billion-pound Housing Infrastructure Forward Fund.
Lancaster’s bid, put forward by Lancashire County Council, focuses on supporting infrastructure for housing developments and Lancaster University’s new Health Innovation Campus.
Infrastructure initiatives include a bus rapid transit network and a dedicated cycle route from South Lancaster to the city centre, alongside improvements to address drainage and flood risk.
The money could also be use to reconfigure Junction 33 of the M6 to allow vehicles direct access to the motorway without having to travel through the city centre or Galgate.
The bid was made by the council supported by Lancaster University and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
Leader of Lancashire County Council Geoff Driver said: “It’s great news that the county council has been successful in the latest stage of this process. This is not a guarantee of funding for the project, but it is an indication from the Government of the strength and quality of our bid.
“These are ambitious plans for Lancaster, which will benefit many people who live and work in the district. In particular, the changes to the motorway junction will help to reduce congestion at the crossroads in Galgate, which we know is a longstanding local issue.
“Detailed plans take time to get right and we’ll need to bring together the necessary funding, but this is an important step forward.”
A joint bid by Wigan and Bolton councils, supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, was also successful in making it through to the next stage.
The £132m bid is aimed at delivering nine road projects between Wigan and Bolton to support the construction of 12,000 new homes in the area.
The roads will be at Westwood Park; North Leigh Park; Hindley; Pemberton Colliery; Wigan Enterprise Park; and Atherton.
North Leigh Park has outline planning consent for up to 18 acres of employment land, retail, and around 44 acres of strategic green infrastructure, alongside 1,800 homes.
Some of the funding will also be used to support the delivery of the Westhoughton Bypass, and to help remediate brownfield sites for housing.
Once complete, these East-West connections will link Junction 26 of the M6 to Junction 5 of the M61.
Bolton will receive £38.1m of the fund, primarily for the bypass, while Wigan’s share will be £93.7m.
Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, said: “There is still a lot of hard work to do but if it receives final approval this funding will see the realisation of a long-held plan to create a fast and joined up east-west road network in Wigan Borough, reducing journey times, support businesses and boost economic growth.
“Crucially it will help unlock housing sites which will deliver thousands of much needed new homes in the borough.
“The successful bid underlines the effectiveness of Greater Manchester working together on strategic issues such as this.”
In total, the Government is aiming to release £4.1bn of funding through the HIF to support the delivery of around 400,000 new homes across England. A final decision on the projects to receive funding will be made in around six months, once business cases have been finalised.