What is the Levelling Up Fund?
The Government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund (LUF) was announced as part of the 2020 Spending Review and provides a source of capital investment in local infrastructure to build on and consolidate previous programmes.
The Fund aims to improve opportunities across the country and "shift both money and power into the hands of working people".
The first round of the Fund supported £1.7 billion of successful projects including: over £1bn in England; over £170 million of funding in Scotland; £120 million in Wales; and £49 million in Northern Ireland.
The second round was announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement on 23rd March, and builds on the recent Levelling Up White Paper.
The clock is ticking...
You have until noon on the 6th July 2022 to prepare and submit your bids, are you ready?
If you need support to prepare your bid, or want to call on experts that can robustly review, “check” and “challenge” your bids, then LSH’s dedicated Town Centre and Economic Regeneration team can help. Our multi-disciplinary team of planners, development consultants, economists, CPO/land assembly and regeneration experts have a strong track record of unlocking public/private sector investment and funding to help deliver critical and complex mixed-use development, infrastructure and regeneration projects. To date, we have unlocked over £250m of funding from the Levelling Up, Welcome Back, Future High Street and Towns Deal Funds.
If you think you will need help to put together a bid, or are simply undecided and would just like to discuss the potential options with us, then please get in touch.
Our Track Record
Case Study: £23m secured for Tilbury Towns Deal Board
Case Study: £20m secured for Grays Towns Deal Board
Case Study: £20m secured for Corby Towns Deal Board
Case Study: Stafford Future High Street Fund
What will the fund support?
Applicants will be able to submit any combination of projects across the following three investment themes (including single projects across multiple investment themes) where a split of funding across different pillars genuinely reflects local priorities and will make the highest local impact.
- Local transport projects that mark a genuine difference to local areas - Transport investments including but not limited to public transport, active travel, bridge repairs, bus priority, local road improvements, major structural maintenance and accessibility improvements. Proposals are requested for high-impact small, medium, and in some cases, large, local transport schemes aiming to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, cut congestion, support economic growth, and improve the overall experience of transport users.
- Town centre and high street regeneration - Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund builds on the Towns Fund framework to upgrade eyesore buildings and dated infrastructure to create ‘beautiful’ town centres, restoring civic pride in our communities. As we enter a possible renaissance period for our towns and high streets, the LUF also focusses on acquiring and regenerating brownfield sites to improve the public realm. Increasing the safety and security of our town centres also features highly on the agenda, with investment encouraged to reduce crime and promote safe neighbourhoods.
- Support for maintaining and expanding cultural and heritage assets - Cultural investment maintaining, regenerating, or creatively repurposing existing cultural, creative, heritage and sporting assets, or creating new assets that serve those purposes including theatres, museums, galleries, and associated green spaces to support the local economy.
For this second round, two large bids (for up to £50 million) can be made under the Fund’s culture and heritage investment theme.
Bids should also consider how projects can work with the natural environment. Projects may include capital infrastructure proposals that better protect against flooding and coastal erosion where they form a coherent part of a wider transport, regeneration, and/or culture and heritage bid. Additionally, bids should include detail of how their Levelling Up Fund projects would complement other sources of funding, for example the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
How will funding be allocated?
The Levelling Up Fund remains a competitive fund in Round 2. Funding will be distributed to places across the UK based on successful project selection. As in the first round, funding will be targeted towards places as measured by an ‘Index of Priority Places’ that take into account the following place characteristics:
- Need for economic recovery and growth;
- Need for improved transport connectivity; and
- Need for regeneration.
In this round, places can move up to a higher priority category, or remain in their existing one, but will not move down to a lower priority category. The Government has therefore expanded category 1 on an exceptional basis, and for the second round only, to capture local areas whose levels of need have increased since the Fund was launched (for example due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic), without disadvantaging those areas that remain in longer-term need (i.e. places that were in category 1 in the first round).
Click here to view the full list of Local Authorities by category.
How much funding is there?
As was in the first round, the Fund will focus investment in smaller scale, local projects that require less than £20 million of funding. However, there is scope for investing in higher value projects, by exception.
Bids for up to £50 million may be accepted by exception for large transport and large culture bids and can be submitted by any applicant. Large transport bids must be for at least 90% transport and large culture bids must be for at least 90% culture, by value.
Bids must also be able to demonstrate spend from the Fund in the 2022-23 financial year.
How will Levelling Up Fund bids be assessed and granted?
Stage 1 gateway: The first stage is a pass/fail gateway. Bids that fail the gateway criteria will not be assessed and will not be eligible to be considered for funding.
Stage 2 assessment and shortlisting: From the gateway stage bids will be assessed on;
- Characteristics of place - As for the first round of the Fund, for England, Scotland and Wales, each local authority has been placed into category 1, 2 or 3 based on objective criteria, with category 1 representing the highest level of identified need
- Strategic fit - how the bid supports the economic, community and cultural priorities of their local area and will further the area’s long-term levelling up plans
- Economic case – Bids should demonstrate how they represent public value to society.
- Deliverability – All bids will be assessed for evidence of robust management and delivery plans
Stage 3 Decision-making: In England, Scotland, and Wales, once bids have been assessed and moderated, and the shortlist is drawn up, Ministers will make funding decisions.
When is the bid submission deadline?
Eligible applications must submit their full bids by 12:00 noon Wednesday 6 July. If you need support to prepare your bid, or want to call on experts that can robustly review, “check” and “challenge” your bids, then LSH’s dedicated Town Centre and Economic Regeneration team can help.
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