Image Credit: Reuben Hodson
City of York Council have lost out on a £19 million bid for regeneration projects in the city centre, but they still plan to go ahead with ‘levelling up’. These funds were part of the government’s new Levelling Up Fund. This initiative was introduced in March of this year and is part of the government’s post-pandemic ‘Build Back Better’ plan. Downing Street announced that they were allocating £4.8 billion towards ‘levelling up’ at last month’s Spending Review, which took place at the same time as the chancellor’s Budget Announcement.
According to the government’s website, the Levelling Up Fund “will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK”. Its aim is “to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets”. However, York Council were left disappointed when their £19 million bid was rejected, with the city considered low priority in the government’s scheme. One of the projects that this money would have been used for was the transformation of the Castle Car Park. The council planned to make it into an accessible public space with a new riverside park, costing around £10 million.
They also had plans to renovate Coney Street and extend the riverside walkway, at the cost of £4.2 million.The final project would seek to revamp Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, totalling just under £4.9 million. Despite missing out on this funding for now, York Council still plans to ‘level up’ and push ahead with these projects, hoping to receive the money in the next round of allocations.
Tracey Carter, Director of Housing, Economy and Regeneration at York Council, said: “We are continuing to make significant progress on major projects to regenerate the city , with further updates due in the coming weeks and months.
“Our plans look to deliver new and improved public spaces, more places to walk and cycle, affordable homes, spaces for businesses to grow and car parking facilities. We remain committed to delivering these projects, which are the result of extensive engagement with residents and businesses and are important for the future of our city.”
The council hopes to receive the money in the next round of bidding, as the government has so far allocated just £1.7 billion worth of projects out of the £4.8 billion put aside. One positive for the city was the announcement of £18.5 million worth of funding for the National Railway Museum. This is part of the Culture Investment Fund, the government’s scheme to protect cultural hotspots, including libraries, art galleries and museums. The government has pledged to spend £850 million nationally on these kinds of projects.
This is good news for the National Railway Museum, which is currently aiming to raise £55 million in funding to regenerate the museum, in what they call Vision 2025. According to their website, their aim is to “become a global engineering powerhouse and a reinvented, inspiring 21st-century attraction”. The £18.5 million investment from the government is a significant step towards this.