Council seeking millions in funding for new leisure center

The funding will help build a new center to replace the Friary Grange, which had been a popular leisure center in Lichfield.

Lichfield District Council has made an application to Round 2 of the Government’s Leveling Up Fund for £15,773,743.80 towards the £17,526,382 project cost of providing a new leisure center to replace the Friary Grange.

The council would provide 10 percent match funding for the facility which is set to include a six-lane swimming pool with movable floor, a café, community room/studio, outdoor changing, 80 station fitness and toning suite, Spin studio, EV charging points and cycle storage.

The bid has support from local community groups, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

The council is also bidding for a conditional allocation of £3,285,310 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) which supports community projects, regeneration, health and wellbeing initiatives, the high street, transport, skills and job opportunities.

The new leisure center is set to replace Friary Grange which has served the city since the 1970s.

The £2.6 billion UKSPF is replacing European Structural and Investment Funds with the objective of leveling up and creating opportunities nationwide.

To support the bid last week, there was a requirement to submit an investment plan outlining projects for 2022/23, 2023/4 and 2024/5 which meets the UKSPF priorities of Communities and Place, Supporting Local Business and People and Skills.

The council’s investment plan features a balance of projects aimed at benefitting the whole district such as creating a Burntwood Community Hub, a cinema in Lichfield, providing high street support, workforce development, business start-up support, inward investment and visitor economy marketing and employment assistance.

The council said it has prioritized capital and revenue projects that fit with the investment priorities in the UKSPF’s prospectus and are considered strategic priorities in its own Economic Prosperity Action Plan, 10-year Capital Program and Active Living Strategy.

The Leader of Lichfield District Council, Councilor Doug Pullen, said: “We have dynamic plans for development across the district and are determined to see them realized.

“From a new leisure center in the city to a community hub in Burntwood there is a lot to look forward to.

“The Levelling Up Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund are supporting projects of this nature, so I am delighted that we have submitted bids for a share of the available money.

“I hope that they are successful.”

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