Lancashire’s 15 council leaders have come together in a show of unity to support all of the bold bids submitted to the government’s Levelling Up Fund.
In total, 11 bids have been made for exciting and transformative projects across the county with a combined value of nearly half a billion pounds.
In a joint letter to government, the leaders said that the proposals don’t just benefit the individual council that has submitted it, but have the power to radically redefine all of Lancashire’s prospects for the future. It is the latest stage in a level of political cooperation in the county that has never been seen before and comes ahead of the leaders unveiling a long term plan for the county.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We’re making the case to government that by taking a combined approach to these bids we can maximise their impact.
“Each of the bids has the power to transform local areas, but collectively they have the power to create a network of jobs, improvements and opportunities that will benefit everyone in Lancashire.
“In fact, as well as Lancashire County Council’s own £50m bid to develop public transport, walking and cycling projects in East Lancashire, I am so passionate about how we can all work together the county council have also offered in-principle funding support to six of the district council bids to increase their chances of being successful.
“All of Lancashire’s leaders believe we can, should and must work together to ensure Lancashire, and everyone in it, can reach their full potential.
“We want everyone in the county to be able to access opportunities that will harness their individual talents so that everyone in Lancashire can live their best life.”
Blackpool Council Leader, Councillor Lynn Williams, said: “Blackpool are hoping to be able to build on the £39.5m ‘Town Deal’ funding we were awarded in March and will be submitting a 2nd round Levelling Up Fund bid.
“Lancashire is a big and closely connected county so the opportunity to make a difference here collectively across a large foot print is significant.
“The opportunities that can be gained from a bid for Blackpool will not only benefit the people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast, but will be felt across the whole of the county.
“These bids will be a key driver for economic growth, job creation and training for all those that live and work in Lancashire.”
Blackburn with Darwen Council Leader, Councillor Phil Riley, said: “I’m proud to be fronting our compelling Levelling Up Fund bids in Blackburn with Darwen and contributing to an exciting round of proposals across Lancashire.
“Our bids have the potential to bring impressive change, unlocking significant opportunities that could be truly transformational – not only for our borough – but the whole of Lancashire.”
Speaking on behalf of Lancashire’s 12 district council leaders, Cllr Alistair Bradley said: “It’s more important than ever that us as local authorities work together to get what’s best for our residents.
“If the country is true about levelling up then we think it’s really important that the Government listens to what those in Lancashire are telling them.
“If all the schemes can be delivered it will help transform Lancashire’s fortunes and give a better return rather than having a piecemeal approach to government funding across the county.”
The government’s Levelling Up Fund is a £4.8bn fund aimed at infrastructure projects that have a visible impact on people and communities.
Lancashire’s 11 bids are focused on three areas themes of transport, regeneration and culture. The leaders have urged government to award them all, so they will make a visible and positive difference to our local areas in need of levelling up.
This is the second round of funding, after the first round saw £1.7bn awarded to 105 successful projects, including some in Lancashire.