View of boats on the water at Whithorn on a sunny day

Dumfries and Galloway to submit levelling up bids

As the second phase of the government’s Levelling Up Fund progresses, Dumfries and Galloway Council are preparing to submit three bids, covering three different areas.

The first bid will be focused on transport and includes three interlinked projects. These will be based around ‘sustainable connectivity’ around the region and will combine numerous different elements by way of providing a ‘metro style’ service to the region.

With electric vehicles becoming more and more important, it is crucial that areas embrace the infrastructure needed to further the ‘electric revolution’ and this will be aided by the Dumfries and Galloway bid as well. A network of EV Hubs are already being rolled out in the region (Stranraer, Whithorn, Newton Stewart, Gatehouse of Fleet and Sanquhar), which will allow easier access to charging for electric vehicle owners. This project is expected to cost around £1.3 million per Hub.

Those with cars aren’t the only ones to benefit from the development of electric vehicle infrastructure. The council are also set to buy a fleet of 16 electric buses, as well as improving bus stop infrastructure at 100 stops linking to the EV Travel Hubs. The buses will come at a cost of around £250,000 each and this will transform nearly a quarter of the public sector owned fleet from diesel. This part of the project is expected to come at a cost of around £6 million, with the bus stop improvements making up £2 million of that.

Active travel is a huge part of many councils’ levelling up bids, as well as helping towards their net zero ambitions. Dumfries and Galloway Council are proposing improved cycle and walking routes. At a cost of £2 million, this will entail elements of a new coast-to-coast cycle route that will be linked to the aforementioned Hubs.

Stephen Thompson, Co-Leader of Dumfries, and Galloway Council, said:

“These are extremely worthwhile projects across the whole of our region and, providing members agree, should go a long way to regenerate our region and boost our economy. Along with the increased footfall that the new attractions will provide, some of the bids have added value, such as the transport bid which seeks to improve connectivity whilst accelerating our drive to be a net zero carbon emission region, addressing our council priority to urgently respond to climate change and transition to a carbon neutral region.”

The development of bases for cycling, running and water sports as well as the regeneration of the former George Hotel site in Stranraer are the focuses of the second bid. These will focus on redeveloping vacant or derelict buildings to increase investment and improving the area for visitors, whilst the third bid is looking to regenerate Annan Harbour. The refurbishment of a B listed former warehouse into a hub, accommodation, landscape improvements and the construction of a footbridge will all form part of this bid, with the aim of creating a new focal point for water sports and activities.

On 17 November we’re joined by public sector leaders to explore the key challenges that levelling up brings at the Public Sector Levelling Up Virtual Event. Gain insight into what public sector leaders need to navigate the plan while prioritising communities and how to shift regional inequalities to support people and places. Join us for the full day event by registering here.

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