THE DISTRICT is in the running to receive a £3.5million government funding boost – just as long as it can draw up a convincing enough plan for what the cash will be spent on.
Stratford District Council (SDC) has submitted an Investment Plan to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which if approved by the government, will see £3.5million national funding brought to the district. It comes as part of the government’s Levelling Up programme.
Plans for what to spend the cash on include improving sports facilities, fighting crime and enhancing the visitor economy.
At this stage SDC has been conditionally allocated the cash, which will be drawn down in annual stages and invested over a three-year period until March 2025.
But in order to ‘unlock’ and receive its conditional allocation, SDC has been tasked with submitting an Investment Plan. This sets out how the council proposes to use and allocate the fund over the designated funding period against the three investment priorities set by the government – communities and place, supporting local business, people and skills.
SDC’s Investment Plan has been developed based on evidence from existing corporate policy and strategy documents and engagement with stakeholders representing public, private and civil society organisations.
Potential ideas include – improvements to community and neighbourhoods’ infrastructure, schemes to design out crime, creation and improvements to sports facilities, promotion and enhancement of the visitor economy, creation and safeguarding of jobs, strengthened support for start-up businesses and increased support for economically inactive people.
SDC leader Tony Jefferson, said: “As a lead authority, district council officers and partners have collaborated at pace to develop the Investment Plan for the district within a challenging time frame.
“It is fantastic to have received a good response from our partners during this process. We recognise that all the interventions could be seen as priorities but have to acknowledge the reality that not everything will be able to be addressed by the UKSPF. Therefore, we have decided to take a balanced approach across the three investment themes for now and will look forward to achieving positive outcomes for the district.”
SDC expects to receive an update on its Investment Plan submission and subsequent allocation this autumn, after it has been assessed by central government officials.