30 November 2021
In his March 2021 Budget speech, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, intended for investments in regional infrastructure projects such as the regeneration of town centres and high streets and upgrades to local transport systems.
In June 2021, Leicester City Council submitted its bid to the Levelling Up Fund to finance three development projects to help drive the city’s economic recovery.
These projects include the redevelopment of the former city council premises at Pilot House on King Street, the creation of new business space around Pioneer Park (next to Space Park) and the regeneration of Leicester Railway Station.
Details of projects seeking funding
The Pilot House scheme aims to bring the cluster of heritage buildings back into use as part of the wider regeneration of the Belvoir Street, Market Street and New Walk areas. The project which is expected to cost about £11 million, would create approximately 250 jobs.
The proposal for Pioneer Park calls for the creation of more Dock-style buildings and manufacturing spaces to house high-tech industries. This would provide an opportunity to expand the emerging space cluster in Leicester with high-quality production facilities for space and satellite technology organisations. The £21 million project could create around 400 jobs and is proposed for three related projects in and around Pioneer Park and Exploration Drive, near the National Space Centre.
The project to regenerate Leicester Railway Station involves remodelling the entrance to create a new gateway to the city centre, creating a taxi rank on Station Street, restoring the booking hall to its original size, and converting the covered entrance hall areas into a space for retail and hospitality.
In total, the three schemes are expected to cost £54 million with funding from the Levelling Up bids, existing match funding and council contributions.
To show its support for these ambitious projects, Leicestershire Business Voice (LBV) submitted official letters of support for each project to accompany the City Council’s bid. The move underlines LBV’s commitment to amplify the voice of the Leicestershire business community across the different networks of strategic stakeholders in the city and county.
The end of October saw the announcement of the first round of successful bids, which included a total of £45.5 million for Leicester. The Pilot House scheme was awarded £8.5 million, while Pioneer Park received £19.4 million and the first phase of the regeneration of Leicester’s railway station received £17.6 million.
City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby said: “This is a fantastic boost for our local economy and allows us to build on the regeneration investment and success that the city has delivered over the last 10 years. I believe that this successful outcome recognised both the strength of our bids and also the overwhelming level of support we received from the many partners and stakeholders who were good enough to write in support of these bids.
“I would like to thank you personally for providing letters of support for these bids. We look forward to sharing further details as these projects are now taken forward to delivery.”
Robin Pointon, Chair of LBV added: “LBV is proud to have played its part in supporting the successful City Council funding bids. This is an example of the influence that LBV can deliver on behalf of its growing membership base of local businesses.
“On behalf of the LBV board, I am delighted that the bids were successful and will bring significant investment into the city’s infrastructure. We helped to ensure that our collective voice, aligned with the strategic vision of Leicester City Council, was heard by decision-makers in government.”
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