Two multi-million-pound bids in pipeline to regenerate coastal communities
Two multi-million-pound bids are being prepared to regenerate deprived coastal communities in Flintshire.
Flintshire Council has revealed its intention to apply for money under the second round of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF), which aims to support economic recovery.
The scheme allows local authorities to make bids of up to £20m for individual parliamentary constituencies and proposals are now being drawn up for both the Delyn and Alyn and Deeside areas.
It follows a previous request for cash to improve rail links from Wrexham and Flintshire into Liverpool being rejected.
Officials said the aim of the latest applications would be to improve business conditions and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in coastal areas.
They are also hoping to bring heritage attractions back into use to attract more visitors to the county.
In a strategy document, they said: “Compared to the UK as a whole, income levels in Flintshire are below the national average and a greater number of households are in poverty with high levels of child poverty too.
“Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019 data highlights that coastal communities in Flintshire experience high levels of deprivation, particularly when it comes to the employment, income, education and community safety dimensions.
“In spite of a strong economy in the area, these communities do not partake in the benefits.
“Retaining existing employment and generating new ‘stepping stone’ employment that helps enhance skills and employability is a key levelling up opportunity in Flintshire.”
Several draft proposals have been outlined which could be included in the bids.
In Delyn, the plans include the regeneration of units on the Flint Castle and Greenfield business parks and investment in a museum at Greenfield Valley Heritage Park.
Meanwhile, the Alyn and Deeside bid could result in Connah’s Quay Dock being transformed to attract tourists and money being spent to restore the John Summers clocktower building in Deeside.
In a report outlining the proposals, the authority’s chief officer for planning, environment and economy Andrew Farrow said: “The intention is to develop two LUF bids that demonstrate the council’s commitment to supporting our coastal communities, and, in particular, those wards identified as experiencing acute deprivation.
“We will demonstrate that these investments form one element of a wider and longer-term programme designed to address the experience of social, economic and health inequalities in these communities.
“The intention is that the interventions funded through LUF establish the physical, economic, social and environmental conditions required to address the economic decline, disconnections and acute deprivation experienced by coastal communities.”
The council has appointed a company called Mutual Ventures to manage the projects with work already underway to develop both bids.
The exact timescale for the submission of second round applications is unclear, although it’s understood the process will take place during the spring.
A report on the proposals will be presented to members of the council’s environment and economy scrutiny committee when they meet on Tuesday, January 11.
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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