Today, Stroud District Council received news that its £16.7m application to the Levelling Up Fund has been unsuccessful.
The bid would have been transformative, and focused on rejuvenating key places at the gateways to the town, providing pedestrian and cycle routes in to and through the town centre and reinvigorating key cultural and heritage arts venues.
These projects would have also addressed poor access, neglect or in some cases dereliction. It would have also supported the post-Covid recovery.
All projects in the bid remain at an advanced stage and the Council and partners remain ready to respond to further funding opportunities.
Stroud District Council Leader Catherine Braun says she is disappointed with the news: “We are saddened that the government failed to recognise the potential of the district. This money would have helped us radically transform and regenerate our town centre, boosting prosperity and vitality not just in Stroud but across the wider area.
“It would also have helped us honour Stroud’s past by preserving its historical and cultural identity, whilst addressing the needs of the present so we can open our town up to all.
“However, this is not the end for these schemes. The District Council has recently completed the purchase of the land at Bath Place, next to Wallbridge and we see this as the first step in regenerating that area.”
One in four bids succeeded nationally.
Deputy Leader Natalie Bennett is also disappointed: “Our Council Plan clearly puts our communities at the heart of our work, ensuring we build resilience and wellbeing into our future.
“This money would have helped us go some of the way to achieving that. However, we remain fully committed to regenerating our district in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported the bid and particularly those partners who stood ready to deliver with us including Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud Valley Artspace, Dransfield Properties, Stroud Town Council, Stroud Subscription Rooms and Lansdown Hall.
“The Council is grateful for the support of the Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie, and more than 50 letters of support from across our district and the wider county.”
Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie added: “I am extremely disappointed we have not been successful with the council’s Levelling Up bid for Stroud town centre.
“I have spoken to the Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison about why the bid failed and I will be asking the district council to meet with her and myself in Westminster to discuss the issues. I would like GFirstLEP to be involved too.
“The council needs to be made aware of what can and should be done to improve any application when a round 3 Levelling Up Fund pot is announced.”
Stroud Town Mayor, Stella Parkes, said they will continue to look for new ways to bring the plans to life.
“We would like to congratulate the successful bidders, who will now be able to use these funds to regenerate their communities,” she said. “We are disappointed not to make it through the round, but we will not be deterred. Thanks to the community’s involvement we have some outstanding ideas to improve our town. We will now explore new avenues of funding and continue to promote these much-needed regeneration projects for our town.”
The Levelling Up Fund (LUF) was launched in March 2021 with £4.8billion to invest in high value local infrastructure across the UK. It encourages bidders to invest in infrastructure which has the potential to improve lives by giving people pride in their local communities; bringing more places across the UK closer to opportunity; and demonstrating that government can visibly deliver against the diverse needs of all places and all geographies.