Agenda item

UK Shared and Rural England Prosperity Funds

To consider the report of the Director of Strategy and Resources (copy enclosed).



The Committee considered the report of the Director of Strategy and Resources that updated the Committee on the delivery of Maldon Districts UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) allocation. A supporting document was attached at appendix 1.


The Chairperson introduced the report and advised that at section 3.1.6 the Officer would take questions and also take questions at the end of the report presentation. She then deferred to the Lead Specialist Prosperity who commenced by referring to the report at the 15 June Committee which detailed the £1million the Council received from the UKSPF as part of the levelling up fund allocation. Due to government delays a request was submitted to profile the underspend from 2022 to 2023 to the current financial year and the Council was very pleased this was approved. Appendix 1 of the report set out the projects being delivered via the funding over the three-year period of which the Council had circa 18 months left, projects continued to be delivered on time and within tolerance despite delays in receiving the funding. Where projects were not being progressed due to non- feasibility, funding will be reallocated to other existing projects within the investment plans. With the current economic climate and the cost of doing business increasing it was prudent to ensure all projects aligned to the Corporate Plan and delivered its priorities. To date circa £168,000 had been committed to the progression of projects and agreed costs for management and administration.


In response to a query regarding the status of the projects and if they remained on track financially the Officer advised that all projects were reporting in accordance with what was budgeted and as noted in the report on section 3.1.5, where they haven't been feasible as a project, the funding has been reallocated to other areas, such as with the Supporting Local Business Programme which was a key priority in assisting the economy to thrive. Discussions and monitoring was taking place to ensure the high value projects that were scheduled to be delivered within the investment plan would be delivered and, if appropriate, modifications would be made to deliver at a lower cost without detriment to the original product.


In response to a question on the pontoon at Burnham-on-Crouch she said she was working extremely closely with the officer delivering the project, had been involved in costing analysis discussions and advised that a Ward Member Briefing was imminent where options will be discussed.


The Officer then resumed the report presentation that covered the Rural England Prosperity Fund. For the benefit of new Members she advised that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) prospectus in September 2022 which confirmed that Maldon District Council had been allocated just over £430,000 to be spent by March 2025. This was a rural top-up to the UKSPF allocation which supported activities that specifically addressed the challenges rural areas faced.


At the Strategy and Resources Committee (S&R) on 10 November 2022 the development of the Investment Plan was delegated to the now Director of Strategy and Resources in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Chairman of S&R. The Investment Plan was submitted and approved by DEFRA and confirmed support for local business funding in the form of capital grants or small scale investment in micro and small enterprises, capital grants for rural circular economy projects, funding for impactful volunteering and social action projects to develop social and human capital in local places. Given there were no additional funds to support the management and administration of this work officers had proactively secured additional funding from Magnox for this element of the programme over a 2-year period. Officers were now developing the eligibility and awarding criteria for the funding and the programme was expected to open in Autumn 2023.


The Chairperson commended the proactive work undertaken. She moved the recommendation, seconded by Councillor Thompson, and opened the debate.


Councillor Stamp commended the work and asked that the Council celebrate the hard work in securing grants etc. She suggested that a presentation take place in the future highlighting the achievements. Councillor Thompson echoed these sentiments.


There being no further discussion the Chairperson put the recommendation to the Committee and it was agreed by assent.


RESOLVED that the Committee acknowledged the update provided on Maldon District’s UK Shared and Rural England Prosperity fund allocations and continued to monitor the delivery.

Supporting documents: