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Agenda item

Levelling Up Fund Submission

To receive a presentation on progress in the development of the Levelling Up Fund submission.

 

Minutes:

William Beeston from consultants We Made That updated members on the emerging bid which is being developed for submission by deadline of 6 July 2022.

 

The presentation covered a recap of the work undertaken for the Folkestone Place Plan priority projects, the recent guidance from the government for round 2 applications and the emerging levelling up bid.

 

Members were given the background to the development of the priority projects that emerged from the Place Pan work and the progress of developing these for the LUF submission.

 

The levelling up prospectus identifies 3 main areas for bids; transport, regeneration and cultural. Bids by local district authorities can be up to £20m and include a maximum of three projects within a package bid, whilst bids from local transport authorities, which in our case is KCC, can be for up to £50m.  All projects are required to be delivered by the 31 March 2025 or 31 March 2026 in exceptional circumstances. The projects put forward by the Council will be high impact projects that will be visible to all.

 

Feedback has been positive with support for all the projects, although there have been some concerns expressed by members around accessibility of the bus station.

 

The proposed Bouverie Square and improved town centre connections project will focus on reconfiguring the bus station and the road network around Middleburg Square to enable more effective bus service operations and the creation of a new park in the heart of the town centre. 

 

Mr Beeston informed the working group that officers are working with KCC and Stagecoach with regards both the Station Arrival and Bouverie Square and town centre connections projects, with both expressing their support for change.

 

The bid package will transform Folkestone town centre through these high impact and visible projects which will boost pride and thereby meet the government guidance for this funding. It will also meet the governments green agenda through encouraging greater use of public transport, cycling and walking.

 

Members paid particular attention to the following:

 

  • Bus station changes and how this will affect residents – more detail is required on this to better understand the impacts on bus users.
  • Changes to road network – the consultant team and Officers are working with Kent Highways on the proposed changes
  • Harbour Line project– officers recognise that this is a good project, but it would not have the transformational impact on the town as required by the government guidance for this funding.  Options for alternatives ways to fund this project will be considered in due course, if this is not included in the LUF bid
  • Folca and Store 21 – officers recognise that these are key buildings which could be brought forward for mixed use redevelopment including potential employment and learning spaces. These options are being considered for potential inclusion in the LUF bid but it was stressed that these are not firmed up proposals and members will be advised further in due course.
  • Parking review – the survey works have now been completed and officers will update members at the next meeting.

 

The proposed LUF bid will be presented to Cabinet in June, with more details on the Council’s website in due course.