Shropshire Council set to bid again for levelling up funding

Shropshire Council is bidding again for funding from the government’s Levelling Up programme.

Shropshire Council's cabinet will discuss the bids on June 8
Shropshire Council's cabinet will discuss the bids on June 8

The authority’s cabinet will meet on June 8 to authorise bids for a major slice of money from the government – for projects in Oswestry, Shrewsbury, and Craven Arms, which previously missed out.

The cabinet will also be asked to back a county-wide bid for transport funding.

The council has previously criticised the government after it missed out on Levelling Up funding bids – particularly in February, when Ed Potter, Shropshire Council’s Deputy Leader, and Cabinet member for economic growth, regeneration and planning, said the Shropshire had been “overlooked, unrecognised, taken for granted and completely undervalued”.

The Craven Arms bid is a for a “major infrastructure project to include a new roundabout/new junction on the A49, a road bridge over the railway line, and spine roads and utility provision on key employment sites”.

The Oswestry bids are for town-centre investment intended to “support the regeneration and recovery of the centre”. The money would be used for public realm improvements and measures to support businesses.

A report to be considered by the council’s cabinet states: “Current projects under consideration include public realm improvements on Church Street and Cross Street and extending capital grants available to re-purpose underused buildings in the town.

“These proposals were included within the recent Masterplan Vision consultation and complement existing activities and schemes such as the High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme.”

The second part of the Oswestry bid is for improvements to support the planned housing and employment developments around Mile End, “through site preparation for the employment land”.

The Shrewsbury bid would see money used for plans to completely re-develop the Riverside area of the town, which were revealed earlier this year, as well as measures to improve “key routes” in the town.

The council could also bid for money to improve transport in the county after losing out on Bus Service Improvement Plan funding from the government.

The council report states: “The transport bid will be centred around Shropshire Connect, the transformation of Shrewsbury Park & Ride (Shrewsbury Connect) and Rural Connect which will see increased connectivity and travel options for the county’s rural residents.”

The report adds that the bids are a further way to secure government recognition for the county’s economic ambitions.

It states: “Shropshire is continuing to work with Government, along with our partners, to ensure that our economic agenda is recognised, opportunities are maximised and the governance and funding to support Shropshire’s priorities can be realised.

“Progressing Leveling Up Fund round two bids and the investment plan for UK Shared Prosperity Fund are the first steps in ensuring Shropshire’s levelling up agenda is being robustly put forward to Government.”

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