Council plea after Sefton put in same category as Windsor for levelling up funds criteria

Council plea after Sefton put in same category as Windsor for levelling up funds criteria

by Tom Martin (July 2022)

SEFTON Council has submitted fresh bids for levelling up funds for Crosby and Bootle in the hope of securing a total of £31.3million to “regenerate the areas.”

Council leader, Cllr Ian Maher, is now urging the government to carefully consider its two applications and take into account how the borough of Sefton has varying levels of deprivation.

Sefton has been placed in the same ‘levelling up category’ as prosperous areas such as Cambridge and Windsor, despite the borough having some of the most deprived areas in the country, such as Seaforth and Bootle.

It means the council is less likely to have its bid approved.

Council Maher said: “I am urging Mministers and Department of Levelling Up officials to see beyond these broad criteria, take a close look at the specific problems we are facing and work with us to address them to create opportunities for the people and businesses of Sefton.”

Sefton’s application for levelling up funds for Crosby and Bootle were both rejected in October 2021, while £37.5million of Town Deal funding was approved for Southport in May last year.

The council claims the £31.3m would “regenerate the areas, tackle local deprivations and support the creation of investment and employment opportunities in the two towns.”

The £10.3 million bid for Crosby would “enhance the viability and vitality of the town centre” and support local businesses by helping to attract more residents and visitors.

It would help build a new learning, skills, health and well-being hub housing a library, GP/community health care and a place for people to both work and develop skills. The new facility would be situated in Crosby Village.

Meanwhile, the £20m bid for Bootle would be used to transform the Bootle Strand and turn unused land alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal into green spaces.

Bootle MP Peter Dowd and Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, have written letters supporting the council’s bids, in which they state the project packages have the ability ‘to significantly improve the prospects for residents and the communities.’

MP Esterson said: “Crosby has significant strengths and could, with Levelling Up funding become an even more successful place where people can live, work, be educated and spend leisure time.”

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