Millions of pounds of investment in people, skills and business and reinvigorating leisure and wellbeing, cultural and retail facilities could be coming to the Moorlands if District Council bids for Government funding are successful.
As part of the Levelling Up agenda, the Government invited Councils across the country to bid for place improvements through the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) and investment in people and skills via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has submitted LUF proposals, for up to £20m each, to deliver regeneration projects in Cheadle and Leek.
The bid package in Leek is focused on three schemes – refurbishing and re-purposing the first floor of the Nicholson Institute to provide blended, complementary cultural and education facilities; investment in improved retail facilities and trader opportunities at the Trestle and Butter markets; and the development of a wellness hub at Brough Park Leisure Centre.
In Cheadle, the Council is asking for funding to provide a new wellness hub on the site of the existing South Moorlands Leisure Centre which, as well as providing state-of-the-art leisure and fitness facilities, will contribute to the wider regeneration of the town.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Paul Roberts, said: “We have worked with a wide range of stakeholders to develop these ambitious proposals which will have such a big impact in Cheadle and in Leek.
“The Council is committed to delivering projects which enhance the lives of everyone who lives and works in the Moorlands. The investment we’re asking for from the Levelling Up Fund will mean we can provide modern leisure and wellbeing amenities to help people lead healthier lives and to enhance the vibrancy and attractiveness of what’s already available to residents, businesses and visitors in Leek.
“It’s an exciting opportunity and I’m delighted that, with strong support from our partners, we’ve submitted these two bids. Creating thriving town centres is a priority for the Council and the projects which form the bids will play a big role in achieving this vision.
“I look forward to the announcement of the successful bids in the Autumn which we, of course, hope will include Cheadle and Leek.”
A Moorlands-wide investment plan for £3.4m, to be spent over the next three years, to increase life chances for everyone through the UKSPF has also been submitted. The fund is aimed at boosting jobs and living standards by growing the private sector and spreading opportunities to more communities.
If the Council’s plan is successful in securing funding, a Board will be convened to determine which projects will receive support.
Councillor Keith Flunder, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Tourism, said: “We want to see our businesses and our towns flourish and for the opportunities that this offers residents to be shared throughout the District.
“If the bids we have put forward are successful it will mean that we can put our plans into action more quickly to help equip people to improve their lives and provide facilities and amenities that are fit for the future.
“The whole Cabinet would like to take this opportunity to thank the three Town Councils, local District Councillors and many Parish Councils for working together with the officers and ourselves at the District Council and for providing letters of support during the bidding process.
“Our ambitions for our people, businesses and towns match the aims of the Levelling Up agenda so I’m pleased that our bids have now been submitted and look forward to hearing the decision later this year.”