Ongoing delays to leveling up fund portal leave bids in limbo
The leveling up fund has still not opened to bids, even though it was originally expected to open on May 31 and then close to applications today.
The Department for Leveling Up Housing & Communities said that once the issues are resolved the portal will be open for two weeks giving applicants time to submit their funding bids.
A DLUHC spokesperson said: “We’re working to open the online portal for the second round of leveling up fund bids as soon as possible.
“Once it’s open it will be live for two weeks to give applicants time to put their bids in.”
However, the government has not even committed to a launch date and its advice to applicants says it will update guidance with the planned launch date “at the earliest opportunity”.
Councils around the country have been working on their bids and are ready to submit them once they are able to.
Durham CC is planning to bid for over £100m and has already secured £11m in matched funding to support projects.
James Rowlandson (Con), Durham’s cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, said: “We are ambitious for our communities in County Durham and that is why we will be submitting bids for five of our parliamentary constituencies, having already secured the maximum £ 20m in Leveling Up money for our sixth, Bishop Auckland, in the first round.
The five projects would enhance transport, regeneration, town centers and culture.
Cllr Rowlandson added: “We are monitoring the online portal so that we are ready to apply as soon as the second round is open and in the meantime are continuously reviewing our bids to ensure they have the best chance of success.”
Birmingham City Council also plans to submit five bids, totaling £82m. This includes a “reworked” version of a bid from the previous round to transform Erdington Hight Street and redevelop a former swimming baths into a Community and Enterprise Hub.
A Birmingham spokesperson said: “We are ready to submit once the portal opens.”
Sedgemoor DC intends to bid for £20m to remodel an old hospital to create an integrated skills development and learning academy.
A spokesperson said: “We do not anticipate [the delay in launching the portal] being an issue for the submission, but have minor concerns on the timescale for government turning around the submissions and providing confirmation that bids are successful.
“They have outlined that there will be no impact on this, however if the timescale is shorter then it is conceivable that this will be impacted.”
The government expects to make announcements about successful bids in the autumn.