Southampton City Council have confirmed that they have submitted three bids for a share of the government’s Levelling Up Fund, with the aim of boosting local spending, job creation, support for communities, and pride in the city.
The three submitted bids come to an overall cost of £55 million, with the hopes of unlocking over £80 million worth of investment in the city. The bids all fall under the ‘Southampton City of Opportunity’ goal and are:
- Reconnecting the heart of the city to green and blue spaces: This bid is based in the city centre and focuses in on heritage enhancements to the Bargate, improving transport links, as well as the regeneration of Mayflower Park.
- Inclusive access to sport: This bid is aimed at supporting the regeneration of the Outdoor Sports Centre, making it into a modern multi-sports venue to be used by people all across the city.
- Riverside protection enabling future regeneration: The funding to come from this bid will bring about the first phase of flood mitigation works to Itchen Riverside. This will also include cycle route improvements, alongside the flood defences and clearance. All of these are with the aim of enabling future regeneration at the site.
Councillor Darren Paffey, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, said:
“We are incredibly excited to be bidding for the next phase of Levelling Up funding. We are submitting three excellent and robust bids that have the needs of citizens at their heart. The three projects represent £80 million worth of capital investment into the city. If successful in the bidding process, we will be able to speed up business growth and job creation, skills development, support space for leisure and culture, improve health and wellbeing, and protect the waterfront for future generations. We have the backing of all three local MPs and are very much hopeful of success.”
Southampton currently ranks in the worst 20% for income deprivation in England, when affecting children, and this is just one of the things that the Levelling Up Fund aims to tackle. Whilst supporting the goal of ending deprivation, these three bids are also complementary to other projects in the city that focus on creating greater equity, such as the Solent Free Port, Net Zero by 2030, and UNICEF Child Friendly City.