Caerphilly Council’s Cabinet have approved plans to put forward bids for exciting projects across the borough as part of new funding and finance programmes for local and regional economies.
Cabinet have decided on projects which could be proposed to central government as part of the national Levelling Up Fund (LUF), announced as part of the Chancellor’s budget in March. The LUF is a competitive fund for which areas across the UK can submit bids. Each constituency can submit a bid of up to £20m in total so Caerphilly County Borough is eligible to submit three applications, one of which will be a joint bid with Merthyr. In addition, the Authority can submit a separate transport bid of up to £50m.
The LUF has Caerphilly in the top priority group and will see the UK Government invest £4.8 billion in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets, £800m of which will be available to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The funds are provided by the UK Government and will be administered by Caerphilly Council. A list of CCBC projects which would potentially be eligible but need to be further worked up in terms of feasibility and practical delivery has been distilled through a vetting process undertaken by senior officers from within the Regeneration and Infrastructure divisions with the Place-shaping Framework in mind.
These projects include:
- Caerphilly Constituency – Provision of infrastructure at Caerphilly Business Park for new industrial/employment units aimed at SME’s, Bedwas Bridge roundabout enhancements along with complementary active travel schemes and the provision of an access road at the Ness Tar brownfield site.
- Islwyn Constituency – Cwmcarn Visitor attraction, Mon Brecon Cwmcarn Canal enhancements and the redevelopment of a strategic town centre site at Risca.
- Merthyr/Rhymney Constituency – improvements to The A469 relief road to stabilise the arterial road route to Upper Rhymney Valley and the Heads of the Valleys.
- Separate Transport Bid (up to £50m) – Caerphilly Transport Interchange – take project on from feasibility and design stage to practical completion.
The UK Government has also set up a UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF) with a budget of £220 million for 2021/22 only, as a precursor to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund that will be launched the following year. The UK Government has identified 100 Priority Places based on economic resilience that will be prioritised for funding. Although Caerphilly is not listed in the 100 Priority Places, Caerphilly Council has a responsibility to support other eligible organisations with the county borough to bring forward their own proposals for consideration.
Cllr. Sean Morgan, Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise & Infrastructure, said: “If successful, these bids will improve business opportunities, provide improved leisure facilities, upgrade infrastructure and help grow our local economy. We will be working as hard as possible to develop the best bids we can for Caerphilly County Borough.”
He continued: “The Levelling Up Fund and subsequent Shared Prosperity fund are to address social and economic disadvantage in much the same was as their predecessor European Funds, so the Council needs to ensure key stakeholders from across the Authority are prepared and engaged, including partners and the community.”