Agenda item

UK Shared Prosperity and Levelling Up Funding Opportunities

To consider the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance informing Members of the new opportunities presented by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Levelling-Up Funds.

 

The report provided details regarding the UKSPF which was part of the UK Government’s levelling-up agenda and would provide £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025.  With all areas of the UK receiving an allocation via funding formula with funding starting in 2022 / 23 to 2024 / 25. 

 

Round 2 of the Levelling-Up Fund had been announced by the Government in the 2022 Spring Statement and continued to focus on capital investment in infrastructure which improved everyday life across the UK.  It was noted that in this round compared with Round 1 the Council had been moved into the higher priority Category 1.  The three investment themes remain unchanged and were set out in the report.

 

It was noted that both the UKSPF and Levelling-Up Round 2 presented significant opportunity to the District supporting the economy, businesses, communities, cultural and heritage assets, regeneration and transport infrastructure.

 

Members commented on the Council’s staffing resources to assist with the award of such grants and the need to maintain this for the future.  The Committee thanked the Lead Specialist: Prosperity and Strategic Theme Lead: Prosperity for their work on this and other funding opportunities.

 

Councillor A S Fluker left the chamber at this point and returned shortly afterwards.

 

A debate ensued and in response to a number of questions raised the following information was provided:

 

·                  DigiGo was an Essex County Council initiative but the need for green transport in the rural areas could be flagged with them. 

 

·                  The Council was working to ensure the success of grant bids by looking at what cultural elements within the District could be supported with significant capital investment.

 

·                  As well as working with Strategy Theme Leads and other officers across the Council, Officers were looking to buy in consultancy services to support the Council and ensure bids were brought up to the Government’s green standard.  In addition, as funding was part of the levelling-up white paper to support our investment plan to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF);

 

·                  With a deadline of noon on 6 July 2022, the deadline for the Levelling-Up fund was very tight. 

 

·                  The UKSPF deadline was 1 August 2022 and the Council was waiting further guidance from the Government to better understand the outcomes of the fund.  It was noted that the Council was charged with working with a local partnership group and who would work collaborately with the Council to deliver the projects with the best outcomes for the District, visitors and the economy.  Officers had spoken to the Chairman of the One Maldon District group as it contained the correct mix of stakeholders.

 

·                  The Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance provided information regarding the progress of work on the South Maldon Relief Road and explained that the detailed design stage had to be completed before any further external funding could be attracted.  He agreed to provide Members with further on this matter.  Officers were in discussion with Essex County Council (ECC) Highways to arrange for them to attend a meeting of this Committee and it was agreed that this invitation should be extended to the ECC Cabinet Member for Infrastructure.

 

·                 In response to a question regarding accidents on the Hythe Quay, the Director of Service Delivery advised he was unable to provide that information but would circulate it to Members outside of the meeting.

 

·                  In response to a question regarding Member involvement in delivery of the Maldon Health Hub, Members were advised that the Council was in discussions with the NHS and had requested that the Maldon Operational Group be reinstated to get Member engagement in discussions.

 

·                  In light of the very tight timescales for Levelling-Up fund bids Officers were looking to draw on the Central Area Master Plan and work of the existing Local Development Plan Policy to identify projects.  The Council could demonstrate that these had been consulted on and had a strong basis around deliverability and evidence enabling the five cases required for a bid of such scale and detail.  The importance to ensure there was not duplication of funding was also highlighted.

 

The Chairman moved the recommendations as set out in the report.  These were agreed by assent.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)               That the opportunity presented for investment in the District by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Levelling-Up Fund and the Council’s role in securing the investment and any administration be noted;

 

(ii)              that the use of any Government allocated preparatory funding to develop the Council’s applications to both Funds be approved.

Supporting documents: