'Disappointment' as £6m levelling up bid for Ripon, Skipton and Masham is rejected

A bid for £6million of levelling up cash to fund regeneration projects in Ripon, Skipton and Masham has been rejected by the government.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 12:26 pm
Ripon city centre. Photo: Tony Johnson.

Harrogate Borough Council and Craven District Council made the joint submission for "high-quality place-making, improved cultural and community assets, and improved sustainable connectivity" across the three areas.

However, the authorities were dealt a setback when the government announced during its budget last week that the bid had been unsuccessful.

A joint statement from the councils said: “We’re very disappointed to hear that the joint bid between Craven District Council and Harrogate Borough Council in the government’s Levelling Up Fund has been unsuccessful.

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“The Levelling Up Fund is a competitive process and sadly only a small proportion of priority three areas – which we were identified as – received funding in round one.

"There also appears to be no areas in North Yorkshire that have received funding."

More than 100 bids around the UK have been awarded a combined total of £1.7billion from the fund, with another £3.1billion to be awarded after the next application window opens in 2022.

In Yorkshire, around £187million was secured by councils for ten projects including a major waterfront extension in Doncaster and a refurbishment of Halifax Swimming Pool.

The cash will be used to improve transport connections across west Leeds and to help convert a derelict site in Wakefield into a new museum and art gallery.

The funding is said to be targeted at areas in the greatest need and is for investing 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".

The joint bid from Harrogate Borough Council and Craven District Council required an approval from Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith.

If approved, match funding from the private sector would have seen the total cost of the regeneration projects climb to £8.8million.

The joint statement from the councils continued: “We are grateful to all the organisations who supported the bid, which would have delivered a wide range of regeneration projects across Skipton, Masham and Ripon.

"We still believe that there is a strong case for investment and we will continue to work with partners to try and bring these schemes forward in the future."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter