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Council keen to hear community views in advance of funding bid

Published Friday 29 October, 2021
Last updated on Friday 29 October, 2021

Swale Council is working urgently on a bid to level up in a key part of the borough.

The council looks forward to the views of local businesses and residents in helping shape the bid for the government’s Levelling Up Fund, which will see the transformation of Sheerness and Beachfields.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund contributes to the levelling up agenda by investing in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centre and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.

Swale has been identified as a priority area for the Levelling up Fund and Swale council will be focusing on the Isle of Sheppey within its bid. The bid will have an emphasis on cultural, tourism and outdoor leisure regeneration in the Sheerness and Beachfields area. This will meet the council’s priorities of health, wellbeing, good quality homes and skills

While the council is yet to evaluate how much it will bid for at this stage, bids can be made for up to £20 million each.

The council will be consulting with local businesses, community groups and residents as part of the bid process. Each council can only make one bid per parliamentary seat, so Swale council is also working and consulting with the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

Government has recently announced the successful bidders from the first round of funding, which Swale council didn’t make an initial bid for so that the process was not rushed and so that the community could be involved.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, said:

“Since we came into administration, we have been clear that the Isle of Sheppey is a key priority and focus area for us. For too long, the people of the Isle of Sheppey and Sheerness in particular have been forgotten.

“The government have recognised that Swale is a priority area for levelling up and we hope the government will agree that our bid meets all of the criteria and will make a significant and lasting difference to the people of Swale.

“We are keen to ensure that this bid for the Levelling Up Fund not only meets the criteria set out by government, but also meets the needs of local residents. This is why we are eager to hear from the local community of their reflections of Beachfields, not just of what it used to be but of what it could be like again.

“If successful, the regeneration and rejuvenation of Sheerness would not only make it a modern version of what it used to be but would also create local jobs for local people.

“Even if our bid is not successful on this occasion, we are taking the chance to prepare a robust case for investment that we hope will appeal to a range of funders. We want to ensure that we have done all we can and worked with the local community to form the best possible bid that fits all the criteria.”

Over the next few months Swale council will be speaking with local residents to help shape the bid so that it includes what local people want and need ahead of the bid deadline in March 2022.