Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
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£208m investment in the North to transform towns and cities

Cash injection announced to turbocharge regeneration and kick-start new housing schemes.

More homes will be built and regeneration turbocharged in the north of England under a transformational package announced today by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove at Convention of the North.

The £208 million cash injection will fund a range of projects across towns and cities, whilst Northern leaders will receive new powers to further unlock the potential of the area and deliver the promise in the Levelling Up White Paper to level the playing field by spreading opportunities.

In Blackpool, £90m will be used to build new homes and renovate low-quality properties not currently fit for people to live in as part of a major regeneration scheme led by Homes England and Blackpool Town Council. It will see around hundreds of homes made available overall and disused brownfield land brought back into life in a boost for the town.

The town has already received more than £100 million of levelling up funding since 2019 and investment to unlock the major £300 million Blackpool Central development scheme. The town is further benefitting from the devolution deal for Lancashire announced at the Autumn Statement last year, putting more power in the hands of local leaders and allowing them to take ownership of the Adult Education Budget to shape local skills provision across Lancashire.

In Sheffield, the government is supporting the city’s overarching ambition to deliver 20,000 new homes through £67 million of Brownfield, Infrastructure and Land funding by Homes England. This funding will be used to secure brownfield land on two city centre sites capable of delivering more than 1,300 new homes and over 4,000 square miles of new commercial or community floorspace.

The investment will complement existing funding through the Brownfield Housing Fund to transform a former brewery into 550 new homes and Levelling Up Fund investment in new leisure facilities at Parkwood Springs urban country park.

Liverpool will receive £31m to support a range of regeneration projects. This includes significant investment to develop Grade A office space and new laboratory facilities at Paddington Village in the Knowledge Quarter, as well as support for community asset Greatie Market to provide further opportunities for traders. 

The transformational package comes as part of the government’s plan to level up communities and empower local leaders to deliver the long-term change our country needs and improve economic security and opportunity for everyone.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, speaking at the Convention of the North, said:

Today is the day the North truly takes back control. Today, at this Convention, we inaugurate the biggest transfer of power and resources to the North in living memory.

We all know that the divisions in our society – economic, social, educational – are best bridged by empowering local leaders and local communities to determine the futures of the places where they live and the towns and cities that they love. And that is why today – at this Convention of the North – together – we are bringing about a power surge for the North. 

Blackburn with Darwen will see a cash injection of £20 million through a Levelling Up Partnership – a tailored plan which sees the government work with local leaders and businesses to target investment and address the unique challenges and opportunities in each place. The area is one of 20 in England most in need of levelling up which will benefit and is modelled on successful partnerships with Grimsby, Blackpool and Blyth.

The investment will be used to transform heritage buildings into modern, cultural venues and creative spaces including King George’s Hall, Imperial Mill and The Cotton Exchange. The funding will be used to help preserve the much-loved Tony’s Ballroom’s place in Northern Soul music history whilst providing a new arts venue to bring communities together, with some of the funding also being used to invest into cyber skills to prepare young people for opportunities for the future. 

Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Councillor Phil Riley, said:

We’ve embraced the opportunity to be a Government Levelling Up Partner and for months we’ve worked together to develop a strong investment package to support our town centre growth priorities.

To be awarded £20m today is fantastic news and adds to the investment we’ve already secured through Levelling Up initiatives.

The projects we are focused on will bring real change – this is Levelling Up in action - and we thank Government for their vote of confidence in Blackburn with Darwen.

In Leeds, the government is working with the council and the mayoral combined authority to lever in investment for new housing and new enterprises in Mabgate, the Innovation Arc, Holbeck, West End Riverside, Eastside and Hunslet Riverside and on the Southbank. The government is also working closely with the Royal Armouries and moving to secure and bring into public ownership a site for British Library North at Temple Works and has met with the poet laureate on the exciting plans for the UK’s National Poetry Centre in Leeds.

Deeper ‘Level 4’ devolution agreements have also been agreed with West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the Liverpool City Region and progressing an agreement with Tees Valley to unlock these powers in future once local leaders are agreed. 

The Level 4 devolution agreements with West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the Liverpool City Region will hand leaders control over adult skills provision, local transport funding, the potential for delivery of net zero funding and control over the Affordable Homes Programme from 2026 in their areas in partnership with Homes England.

These areas will be handed a consolidated single pot for local growth, housing and regeneration funding at the next multi-year Spending Review. This will serve as a stepping-stone to a full departmental-style settlement at the subsequent multi-year Spending Review.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

Devolution is already working for West Yorkshire, with cheaper buses on our roads, more police officers on our streets, and more decisions being taken outside of Westminster and closer to the people they affect.

This new deal is our next step toward deeper devolution and a single cash settlement from the Treasury, so that the people of West Yorkshire can have the first and final say over how their funding is spent.

Gone are the days of cap-in-hand or pork-barrel politics – devolution is the green shoot of hope for our communities, helping us build a brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.

This is a great next step, and we look forward to working with Government on the detail and making it a reality that works for our West Yorkshire partnership.

Oliver Coppard, Mayor of South Yorkshire, said:

A level four devolution deal is a welcome next step on our devolution journey in South Yorkshire and is the product of months of partnership working between us and government. 

The package of measures announced today will allow us to take back more control over how we spend money on things like transport and housing.

But my ambition is for South Yorkshire to go further and faster. Today’s announcement lays the groundwork for a full single settlement funding deal in the future, and business rate retention, so that we can have greater freedoms and flexibilities to invest in projects that we know will make the biggest impact across our communities.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

The granting of new powers shows that the Liverpool City Region is among the country’s leading and most successful areas in delivering on the promise of devolution. I will be using them to continue to improving public transport; attracting new jobs and investment; and building a greener, fairer region that goes from strength to strength.

While we’re willing to take whatever new powers and funding become available, we believe that those new powers we have secured still only scratch the surface of what areas like ours could achieve with true devolution. As soon as possible, we deserve at least the same powers and single funding settlements as trailblazer areas. Today’s announcement demonstrates the distance we have already travelled but we still have to work to deliver on the extraordinary potential of our area and our people.

The government is also keen to make progress on discussions with Cumberland and Westmoreland and Furness, as well as Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, over future devolution deals.

The government has today announced further details of West Yorkshire’s HealthTech-focussed Investment Zone. This will invest £50m to accelerate capital projects in Bradford, Huddersfield, and in Leeds. A further £25m of the funding will be used to give businesses the support they need to grow and local people the skills they need to take advantage of the over 7,000 new high-quality jobs being created in the region because of the Investment Zone. The government will work with West Yorkshire to confirm their delivery arrangements, ahead of releasing funding.  

The announcement strengthens the government’s commitment to levelling up towns and cities in the North and ensuring local leaders have the powers needed to make the most of future opportunities.

It builds on the commitment to the area demonstrated by the Prime Minister who held regional cabinet for the first time earlier this week in East Yorkshire, and follows on from the announcement that £4.7 billion of reallocated HS2 funding would be invested into the North and Midlands through the Local Transport Fund to improve local connections.

Further information:

  • The £208 million figure is comprised of £90m for Blackpool, £67m for Sheffield, £31m for Liverpool and £20m for Blackburn with Darwen.
  • The £20 million Levelling Up Partnership for Blackburn with Darwen is being provided subject to final business case.
Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-levelling-up-housing-and-communities

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/208m-investment-in-the-north-to-transform-towns-and-cities

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