Fylde Council’s bid for £f3.14m under the government’s Levelling Up agenda has failed, and Fylde’s Tory MP Mark Menzies has expressed his disappointment at the news.
In a statement MP Menzies said, ‘Disappointed to hear St Anne’s was not successful in today’s Levelling Up Fund announcement. The Government has promised a further round of funding and support to fine-tune future bids and I believe Fylde can succeed next time around.’
The Fylde MP continued, ‘Blackpool lost out in the last round and now has one of the Fund’s flagship projects, which will support jobs and skills here in Fylde. I am certain Fylde can do the same and will continue to support the regeneration project however I can.’
In response, Fylde Council have said, ‘In July 2022, Fylde Council submitted an ambitious £13.14 million bid to Round 2 of the Government’s highly competitive Levelling Up Fund with the aim of helping to kick-start the regeneration of St Anne’s Town Centre and Promenade Gardens.
Unfortunately, the Government’s recent announcement of the successful LUF bids did not include the Fylde submission, with only 3 districts in Lancashire winning funds.
Although this is disappointing news, it is expected that Councillors at the next Council meeting in February will authorise a budget for the Council’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) which, alongside funds already agreed on the Council’s capital programme, will ensure public realm improvement works do still go ahead on the Pier Link along St Anne’s Road West, linking St Anne’s town centre to the seafront.
In addition to physical capital improvements, UKSPF will also be utilised to deliver an exciting and impressive events programme in St Anne’s town centre, encompassing arts, heritage and culture to encourage visitors into our town centre and further boosting our visitor economy.
Plans are also in the pipeline to engage with major investors, developers and other interested parties who want to work with the Council and start having positive conversations regarding new leisure and family orientated opportunities for the Island as outlined within the St Anne’s Masterplan.’
Councillor Karen Buckley, Leader of Fylde Council, said: ‘It was always a tall order to get our bid over the line because we were not in the top priority tier. While it would be easy to be disappointed with the outcome of the LUF Bid, our commitment to bringing more prosperity to Fylde remains as does the Masterplan for St Anne’s, including the Square, Promenade and Island sites. Thank you, again, to the many local residents and businesses, including business groups, who contributed to this vision. We will continue to investigate funding opportunities that will enable the ambitious plans for regenerating St Anne’s to be realised, including submitting a funding bid into Round 3 of LUF which the Government have committed to deliver.’
She added, ‘Congratulations to neighbouring Blackpool for the successful ‘Multiversity’ bid and to Lancaster whose exciting plans for ‘Eden of the North’ in Morecambe have been given the green light.’
Maybe you should have tried a little harder then, Mr Menzies.
But there again, as long as Conservatives are in government – I don’t expect to see much of the over-hyped, so-called ‘levelling up’ happening here in the North.