£128m Levelling Up boost and Investment Zone tweaks will benefit North West

Bolton Town Hall

The Government has announced two initiatives that will benefit the region, including new Levelling Up funding, and an extension to the Investment Zones project.

The third round of the Levelling Up Fund has awarded £1bn to 55 transformational projects, including eight across the North West which will receive a £128m fillip.

The Chancellor is also confirming that the Investment Zones programme in England will be extended from five to 10 years, with the envelope of government funding and tax reliefs on offer now doubled to £160m.

This can be used flexibly between spending on interventions such as skills, research and development and local infrastructure, dependent on local need, and tax incentives.

Alongside this, the window to claim Freeport tax reliefs in England will be extended from five to 10 years until September 2031, providing greater certainty to businesses looking to invest, delivering growth and jobs, and levelling up the economy.

The full list of Levelling Up projects receiving funding in the North West is:

  • £13.5m from the Levelling Up Fund will be invested in remodelling Market Hall and historic Market Place in Kendall. New bike and pedestrian paths will also be built along the river, encouraging more sustainable journeys in and around the town.
  • A project in Bolton will receive £20m to support a number of improvements across its town. Its Grade II-listed Le Mans Crescent building will be converted into an hotel and the Town Hall, also a Grade II-listed building, will be renovated into a conference and event centre. The Market Place and its vacant retail units will also be developed to include a new public square, flexible studio and co-working space and a music venue for concerts and exhibitions.
  • Manchester will receive £20m to support the improvement of the cultural, retail and hospitality offer in Wythenshawe town centre, including transforming its former Co-op store into an artist and creative studio space, a new food hall and an area for fresh food sales. It will also include an expanded Enterprise Centre, including a co-working space. The town’s wider public space will also see improvements, including more cycle ways and a new public square for community square for events.
  • Denton town centre in Tameside will be further regenerated with more than £16m from the Levelling Up Fund, with improvements to its public spaces and new walking and cycling facilities.
  • An £11.4m share of the Levelling Up Fund will help boost several improvements across the historic heart of Leigh town centre in Wigan, creating flexible and active spaces to promote cultural and community events and better connections across the town.
  • £15.4m will help to transform Blackpool town centre, improving traffic flow, access to public transport, and infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Chorley will reinvigorate three central locations in its town centre to address long term decline, supported by £20m from the Levelling Up Fund. This will include funding for the Health and Wellbeing Hub, much needed residential units within the town centre and a new town square to be used for community activities.
  • Liscard, in Wirral, will receive £10.8m to regenerate its town centre and public spaces into a pedestrian-friendly space. This will include upgrades to shops and a new community hub will be created to help improve pride in place.

Levelling up Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Levelling Up means delivering local people’s priorities and bringing transformational change in communities that have, for too long, been overlooked and undervalued.

“Today we are backing 55 projects across the UK with £1bn to create new jobs and opportunities, power economic growth, and revitalise local areas.

“This funding sits alongside our wider initiatives to spread growth, through devolving more money and power out of Westminster to towns and cities, putting in place bespoke interventions to places that need it most, and our long term plan for towns.”