Ashington will receive around £16m. Credit: Northumberland CC

Budget 2023 | Region secures £36m in Levelling Up support

Redcar & Cleveland and Northumberland are among 16 local authorities sharing £200m in an unexpected raft of awards announced in the Budget.

Keen to demonstrate that its levelling-up mantra ia alive and well, the government announced a £400m Levelling Up Partnerships programme to support those councils in greatest need, a classification that included Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and South Tyneside.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also confirmed that bids are invited for a third round of LUF support, with £1bn to be disbursed later in 2023.

For now, the main regeneration story is the 16 capital regeneration projects, all of which had been denied in January’s second LUF round, finding favour from the government.

Redcar & Cleveland will receive £20m to level-up Greater Eston.

As outlined in the bid submitted in summer 2022, the proposal has three elements: around £8m to boost retail and commercial regeneration in Eston; around £7.3m to deliver a new pool for the area, with surrounding regeneration; and around £4.7m for new cycling and walking routes, including to the Teesworks development zone.

Northumberland has secured £16.4m for the Ashington Town Centre Transformation project. There had been dismay in January, when proposals to upgrade Wansbeck Square and Portland Park failed to make the LUF cut.

Those plans are now revived though, meaning a cinema, two restaurants, community hub, performance space, café and a creative hub for young people are back on the agenda. The council is keen to build momentum as it prepares for Ashington to be linked into the Northumberland Line next year.

Cllr Glen Sanderson, leader of the council, said: “This is absolutely great news for Ashington town centre and testament to all the work our County Council has devoted to the town.

“The inclusion in the budget follows the Secretary of State’s recent visit to the county where the issues was specifically raised with him.

“So much work has gone into working together to build positive plans for the town so todays’ announcement is testament to the commitment of everyone involved.”

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