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Levelling-up announcement

Joint statement on behalf of Mendip, Sedgemoor & South Somerset District Councils.

Levelling-up announcement
Mendip District Council submitted two Levelling-Up Fund Bids, working together with other District Councils.

The Sedgemoor and Mendip bid would have supported more than 20 town centre regeneration, local transport, and cultural and heritage projects within the Wells parliamentary constituency.

The South Somerset and Mendip bid's aim in the Somerton and Frome constituency, was to contribute to the regeneration of Frome and Wincanton by enhancing and refurbishing Frome Enterprise Centre and providing co-working and cultural events space in Wincanton town centre.

Although it is disappointing that these bids have not been successful, excellent work has resulted from the activity on the bids which can be used going forward.

We have been advised that there will be a 'round three' for the Levelling Up Fund which will of course be up to the new Somerset Council to decide, with partners, as to whether or not we will participate.

Councillor Gill Slocombe, Deputy Leader of Sedgemoor District Council and Chair of the Highbridge and Cheddar regeneration working groups, said:

"It is extremely disappointing that the joint levelling up fund bid for the Wells Constituency that included Highbridge and Cheddar was not successful.

"The focus for Highbridge and Cheddar will now be on moving forward to look at future opportunities to secure funding including a possible future bid for levelling up funds, in order to deliver on the exciting projects and opportunities identified through the joint working and public consultation.

"We will also work with local developers, partners and other investors to ensure that new development supports the wider place making ambitions set out in the Regeneration Strategy.

"This is certainly not the end but very much the beginning of the regeneration process for that will be taken forward by officers and Members of the new Somerset Council."

Cllr Sarah Dyke, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Chair of Wincanton Town Centre Regeneration Board, said:

"Wincanton is of huge strategic importance to the South East of the county and I, alongside my colleagues, am committed to regenerating our communities and town centres. As such I will continue to stand up for the economic and social wellbeing of Wincanton.

"The Levelling Up Fund 2 bid would have provided funding for 100 sqm of co-working and 100sqm of museum and event space, in Wincanton Town Centre. The enterprise, innovation, business collaboration opportunities, plus footfall generated, would have also positively impacted the High Street and retailers. Together this would have helped to rejuvenate Wincanton bringing vitality and viability to the town centre, businesses and community."

Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council, concluded: "This was a bid for Levelling Up - which is so needed for Somerset.

"We applied for funding, in good faith, because we are a priority area, and are formally recognised by DHLUC as such!

"As a lower wage economy, these schemes would have been truly transformative. They would have supported our infrastructure, businesses and our communities. The lives of people will have been improved.

"That is why this news is so frustrating and very disappointing."