Keighley & Worth Valley Railway among Yorkshire winners of £169m Levelling Up money

The Government has announced the successful bids for the third round of Levelling Up funding.

The central funding scheme is aimed at addressing regional inequality in the UK, with £3.8bn awarded in the first two rounds, and an additional £1bn provided to local authorities in the latest round, including £169m to projects in Yorkshire and The Humber

Kirklees Council has been awarded a total of nearly £65m, which includes almost £48m - the highest award in the third round of funding - to upgrade the Penistone Line railway between Huddersfield and Sheffield, and £16.5m for the Huddersfield Open Market Regeneration Project.

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It means all four of Kirklees Council’s bids to the Levelling Up Fund have been successful, with the Batley Blueprint and Marsden Mills projects receiving £12m and £5.6m respectively.

Oakworth Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley RailwayOakworth Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
Oakworth Station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood MP said: “I’m delighted that we’ve succeeded in securing the funding to start upgrading the Penistone Line. It’s a lifeline for people in Denby Dale, Stocksmoor and Shepley, and I’ve been determined to deliver this investment that local people have been telling me is their top transport priority.”

Bradford Council’s bid has been awarded £20m to fund a new Advanced Robotics and Engineering Institute in Keighley; to help increase capacity on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway; and to redevelop brownfield land.

Sheffield will also receive more than £19m to improve access to Parkwood Springs - its country park in the city - in order to help regenerate the former ski village site which was destroyed by fire in 2012, and improve the leisure facilities within the park.

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Cllr Ben Miskell, chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Committee, said: “Sheffield is a city on the up and we’re looking forward to starting work on an exciting £19 million transformative regeneration to create a country park at Parkwood Springs.

“These plans will open up access to the site, an obstacle that previously prevented developers from bringing forward plans for the redevelopment of the former Ski Village.

“This project will be able to breathe new life into the landscape and return it to the people of Sheffield. Once all the work is complete Parkwood Springs will be a fantastic place for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy and I’m really looking forward to seeing it start to take shape.”

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “Levelling Up means delivering local’s people’s priorities and bringing transformational change in communities that have, for too long, been overlooked and undervalued.

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“Today we are backing 55 projects across the UK with £1 billion to create new jobs and opportunities, power economic growth, and revitalise local areas.

“This funding sits alongside our wider initiatives to spread growth, through devolving more money and power out of Westminster to towns and cities, putting in place bespoke interventions to places that need it most, and our long term plan for towns.”

In February the Labour Party obtained information via a freedom of information (FOI) request which showed less than 10% of Levelling Up funding had been delivered.

A separate FOI from NationalWorld earlier this year revealed councils in England had spent £27m on preparing bids for Levelling Up funding, with many turning out unsuccessful.

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