Preston City Council is planning to apply to Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund for investment in parks and active travel infrastructure to support a healthy, liveable and sustainably connected city.Advertisement
Among the projects included in the bid would be the replacement of the Old Tram Bridge, which closed due to safety concerns in 2019.
Former Preston City Councillor and Avenham resident Daniel Dewhurst has led a campaign including a petition to use Levelling Up Funds to reopen the historic bridge over the River Ribble.
He said: “This decision vindicates those who have consistently and repeatedly put the argument over the last 12 months that the Old Tram Bridge should be included as an element of the Council’s submission to the Levelling Up Fund.
“Whilst there are a number of hurdles and formalities the council will be required to comply with in order to obtain the funding necessary to reopen the bridge, and this announcement is by no means a done deal, it is a significant first step forward.”
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Applications to the Levelling Up Fund must focus on projects that will make a visible positive difference to local areas including in transport, regeneration and culture.
As well as replacement of the Old Tram Bridge, Preston’s project would include the following:
A report on the Levelling Up Fund plans will be considered at a Preston City Council Overview and Scrutiny Meeting on Thursday 14 April, before going to Cabinet on Wednesday 20 April.
Subject to Cabinet agreeing the proposals, a detailed submission would need to be prepared in time for the July deadline.
Preston City Council will use £125,000 from government to prepare the submission and will work with specialist consultants on the business case.
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After a three-part selection process, funding is distributed to successful projects and must then be spent by March 2025.
Funding will be targeted towards places that are most in need based on economic recovery and growth, improved transport connectivity and regeneration.
While Preston is categorised as Priority 1, the City Council has stressed that only a third of the Levelling Up Fund Round 1 submissions received any funding, and it was often with a reduced amount.
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