THE leader of North East Lincolnshire Council has today expressed ‘disappointment’ at the news that a multi-million-pound Government Levelling Up Fund, (LUF), bid for major highways projects has been unsuccessful in this round.
The near £50m bid was submitted for the first round of LUF funding earlier this year, but it was not listed as successful by Government following its budget statement this week. The Government has stated how there will be opportunity to resubmit a bid in a future round.
The bulk of the funding was intended for the planning and development of a new 2.5-mile strategic link road to the west of Grimsby. This key project had two main aims, the first to provide an alternative route from the south to the major employment sites along the Humber bank – thereby reducing congestion, journey times and vehicle emissions across the borough. The second was to open-up land for a separate and privately led housing scheme, with plans for up to 3,500 homes.
The road and separate housing scheme were both identified as development opportunities within North East Lincolnshire’s officially adopted 2018 Local Plan. A pledge to prioritise community views and the protection and enhancement of the natural environment had already been made – ensuring the plan would run side-be-side with the green agenda.
The remaining fund monies had been earmarked to improve the capacity of the roundabouts on the way into Grimsby, and do essential structural maintenance to the flyovers to make sure that traffic keeps flowing into the town and onwards to Cleethorpes, as well as extending the cycle superhighway scheme and enabling a new bus bridge to be built near Europarc to help public transport access.
Cllr Philip Jackson said the authority would now spend time reviewing the bid and the feedback it receives from the Government’s LUF team. He added how the strategic link road remained a key piece of infrastructure in the Local Plan and was therefore a high priority for delivery. The Council will continue to explore what other options may be available to fund both elements of the work.
He said: “Our bid and the reasons why this investment was so badly needed, were well set out and properly identified and for that reason of course we are extremely disappointed.
“For us to grow as a borough, and meet our identified housing delivery targets, we need to see schemes of this nature, which will provide a balance of new developments and the protection and enhancement of our green areas. We remain confident that the Grimsby West scheme would achieve this ambition and the expected growth we need to achieve as a borough. We will therefore continue to look at alternative funding options for the future. It is also important for everyone to understand the benefits that such a scheme would deliver for the whole of North East Lincolnshire – both economically, socially and environmentally.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has given their views on this scheme since the LUF bid was submitted earlier this year. As with any such plan, we must listen to all views and take them into account as we move forward, which we will continue to do.”