Funding Bids and Levelling Up
For economic growth in West Berkshire
One of the tasks of our Economic Development Team is to identify and bid for national and local funding schemes to ensure that West Berkshire benefits wherever possible, to help deliver local priorities and support our strategy for economic development.
This page contains information on the schemes that we have bid for which relate to Levelling Up priorities, and their current status.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a £2.6 billion Government scheme which is being distributed to local authorities across the UK to invest in projects and infrastructure that will help boost productivity, spread opportunities and build pride in communities. West Berkshire Council has been allocated £1,000,000 under this scheme.
Our investment plan was submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 1 August 2022 and is pending approval. Our plan for the funding is focused across the following themes:
- creating a new public space on Newbury Wharf
- creating new sports facilities in Purley on Thames
- supporting local culture and heritage activities in rural communities
- Giving advice and guidance to businesses to help them thrive
The Rural England Prosperity Fund is an add-on to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which has been allocated to predominantly rural local authorities. The Council has been allocated £597,994, and we are the only authority in Berkshire to receive it.
The purpose of this fund is to invest in capital projects in small businesses and community infrastructure in rural areas in order to improve productivity, connectivity and access to services. It is aimed at addressing the imbalance between productivity and access to services for people in rural areas as opposed to urban.
We are currently developing an investment plan, in consultation with rural stakeholders, which will set out how we intend to spend the money. This will be submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by 30 November 2022.
The Levelling Up Fund is a £4.8 billion Government scheme designed to invest in infrastructure projects around the UK, in order to improve pride in place and economic opportunities - with a focus on addressing the economic differences between regions.
Unlike the schemes above, the Levelling Up Fund is allocated through a competitive process where local authorities bid for specific projects. The funding is likely to be focused on the most deprived areas across the UK.
In July 2022 we submitted a bid of £3.5 million for the Newbury Lido and we are still awaiting the outcome. The Council is committed to delivering the Lido project and improvement work has already begun, however, if we do secure the extra £3.5 million, it would free up money to spend on other projects which would also benefit local residents.
This is a recently-announced Government scheme in which specific sites around England will be designated as Investment Zones, where a number of tax incentives, regulatory flexibilities and simplified planning frameworks will apply within the site boundary.
The intention of Investment Zones is to encourage economic growth including more jobs and commercial space, particularly in undeveloped or under-developed areas.
Specific details around the scheme are yet to be announced, however, councils were invited to submitted initial expressions of interest by 14 October 2022. We submitted an expression of interest to potentially designate the London Road Industrial Estate as an Investment Zone. We hope this would bring forward additional private sector investment in order to accelerate and enhance the existing regeneration programme for LRIE.
If our expression of interest is taken forward to the next stage then we will review the appropriateness of the specific planning and regulatory incentives before committing to the scheme.