Stalybridge Civic Hall will be part of a new cultural quarter. Credit: Google Earth

Tameside pursues £35m in Levelling Up Fund support

Levelling Up Fund bids for Stalybridge and Denton town centres are to be made ahead of July’s deadline for the second round of the programme.

Tameside Council’s cabinet has this week signed off on bids for the two locations, which need to be submitted by the deadline of 6 July.

Another regional council, Knowsley, is to submit three bids: Huyton, which was disappointed to miss out in LUF round one; Halewood; and jointly with St Helens, Prescot.

Announced in the March 2021 Budget, the LUF is a £4.8bn funding pot to be put to work over four years, with bids invited for projects in any or all of three areas: transport investment, regeneration/town centre investment, and cultural investment. The successful first round bidders were announced in October 2021.

Cllr David Sweeton, Tameside Council executive member for business & employment, said: “These plans highlight our continued ambition for Denton and Stalybridge town centres and supports the aims of our Inclusive Growth Strategy.

“We are committed to delivering continuous improvements to our towns to help our communities flourish and ensure Tameside remains somewhere people want to live, work and spend their leisure time.”

Tameside is seeking £20m for Stalybridge town centre, where an inital bid failed in the first LUF round, leading to a greater focus on he delivery of a cultural quarter at the Civic Hall and Astley Cheetham Art Gallery.

Around £9.2m is expected to be needed for the remediation and repurposing of surface parking and to unlock future development in Stalybridge West, around £8m for public realm and accessing public transport, with repair works to the hall and gallery respectively coming in at £1.5m and £1.3m.

Stalybridge town centre has long been a priority area – it was selected as Tameside’s focus for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Town Centre Challenge in 2018, while a year later the Stalybridge High Street Heritage Action Zone secured £1.275m, fully match-funded by the council, for heritage projects in the centre.

In addition, £360,000 was secured from the Brownfield Homes Fund for 24 apartments at the former police station site.

For Denton, £15.5m is sought. As outlined in the report, the draft bid is focused on public realm and active travel to further strengthen links across the town centre.

The report said: “This will also ensure all of the benefits from the significant new investment and development that is taking place in Denton such as new residential development at Crown Point and the new Denton Wellness Centre are fully captured.

“Further capital investment is also sought at Festival Hall and Denton Town Hall to provide enabling infrastructure that makes best use of the Council’s estate. This will help the town centre to reach its full potential and deliver further comprehensive regeneration, attracting additional footfall and investment.” Specific numbers included are £2m for Festival Hall improvements and £1m at the Town Hall.

A verdict from government on successful bidders is expected in the autumn.

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Go for it I was proud to walk past the park on Sunday and see the fair in full swing also walking through the square it was brilliant the town was so vibrant keep up the good work .let’s get denton train station back.

By John Evans

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