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Councillors hear how Swale will bounce back stronger than ever from the pandemic

Published Thursday 24 June, 2021
Last updated on Thursday 24 June, 2021

Councillors heard, at last night’s council meeting, how the borough is planning to bounce back stronger than ever from the pandemic.

The leader of the council will be updated members on how the council is working to help the local community recover from the impact of the coronavirus.

Councillor Roger Truelove, leader of the council, said:

“Even before the pandemic, we wanted to do more to help the local economy, and events of the last year have only increased our determination.

“We are already committed to investing more to improving the local area with our £1 million a year special projects fund already delivering significant improvements.

“We can now also benefit from additional funding from other sources, such as £3 million from the Government’s Communities Renewal Fund and around £199,000 from the Welcome Back Fund to support the reopening of our high streets.

“There is also the prospect of additional knowledge and expertise from the High Street Task Force which could help deliver positive changes to Sheerness.

“Then there is of course the potential for up to £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

“I am aware there has been a recent press coverage that may have caused some confusion about this scheme, so I would like to be clear that we are working on a bid for the next round of funding.

“When the scheme was announced a few months ago, the criteria for this first round were clear – you needed a project that could get shovels in the ground during the current financial year, with a submission needing to be fully costed, with all the technical work complete and the project ready to go.

“With the opportunity to bid for such a significant sum of money we were not prepared to throw something together that wasn’t likely to be approved.  This funding programme will run until 2024/25 and the Government have been clear they will only support one bid per parliamentary constituency.

“The Government acknowledged that local authorities may not have the capacity to submit in this first round by offering up to £125,000 to help get bids together. This is not going to be available until after this first round has closed – though we still don’t know when it will be - and it would be a welcome support to help give our bid the best chance of success.”

The council meeting took place on Wednesday, 23 June and the agenda for the meeting is here.