Rossendale Council is seeking £17m from the new Levelling Up Fund (LUF) from the Government to assist with major developments across the borough.
A Levelling Up Board made up of large businesses, smaller- scale entrepreneurs, creatives, community groups and key public sector partners like Rossendale Council, Lancashire County Council and the Nelson & Colne College Group, have developed the bid.
Council Leader, Alyson Barnes, said: “Rossendale is already a great place to live, work and invest but with a little help and investment from central Government we can make it even better. Traditionally we have had lower skilled jobs in Rossendale, and we want to improve conditions to attract those businesses that will bring with them higher skilled and better paid jobs.
“That includes making our town centres better to attract investment, boosting footfall in the town centres, improving our road system and opening a skills and training centre in the heart of the borough.”
The Levelling Up Fund is a key Government policy to promote economic growth and tackle the gap between income levels in the region compared to more prosperous areas of the UK.
Jake Berry MP for Rossendale and Darwen said: “I’m extremely proud of the work that’s gone into this bid submission. Myself, the council and local business leaders from the Levelling Up board have put together a really strong plan that I believe to be vital to accelerate the local economy”.
Improvements are focused on streamlining the gyratory system in Rawtenstall, reconfiguring Rawtenstall market, redeveloping the site of the existing Bacup Market and creating a new centre for skills provision in Rawtenstall working with Nelson & Colne College.
Mike Lane, Chair of the Levelling up Board and Managing Director at local company, We Buy Books, said: “The work to pull the bid together has been a joint effort between the private and public sector to ensure the best outcome for Rossendale. The projects require around £21million in funding and we’re looking for £17million of that to come from the levelling up fund, with Lancashire County Council and Rossendale Council making up the remainder.”
“We believe we have a put together a strong bid and see this as an opportunity to make a huge difference in Rossendale. It’s exactly what the Levelling Up fund was established to do.”
The bid will be submitted by the first week of August and the council hope to hear if it has been successful in the Autumn.