Denbighshire council joins the dash for ‘levelling up’ cash
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
A council is in a mad dash for cash, to get a share of up to £20m in UK Government funding aimed at “levelling up” constituencies across the country.
Denbighshire council’s cabinet made the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund an urgent agenda item on Tuesday.
It followed news Wrexham county council was applying for up to £20m each for both Wrexham and Clwyd South constituencies, but the bids have to be in by June 18.
As Clwyd South takes in part of south Denbighshire, including Corwen and Llangollen, Denbighshire was asked to submit bids for part of the cash – around £4-5m if the entire £20m award is made.
During the cabinet’s discussions it emerged the criteria for awarding the cash had not been made clear to applicants but all bids must come from local authorities and be supported by local MPs – in the case of Clwyd South, Simon Baynes.
Political leader of the authority, Cllr Hugh Evans, said the cash pot was “substantial” and would “make a difference”.
The meeting heard there will be several dates to apply for the funding, which will not be dished out until 2024, but Mr Baynes and Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton encouraged Wrexham county council to get its submissions in by the first cut-off date on June 18.
Corporate director of Denbighshire Graham Boase said he anticipated Vale of Clwyd and Clwyd West, two other constituencies which include areas of Denbighshire, may be able to submit applications by the end of the year, meaning less of a rush.
He also described the Levelling Up Fund as a “warm-up” for the Shared Prosperity Fund, designed to replace European funding lost as result of Brexit.
However, there was “no detail on what the Shared Prosperity Fund would look like”, he said.
He added: “It’s not guaranteed to be successful but it will be a bidding process and there will be a scoring system and we wait to see what that is – the detail is light on that.”
Cllr Evans said he had been in meetings with local councillors in Clwyd South constituency to canvass their views and the council’s submission for the cash would centre around visitor movement at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage Site and Corwen.
The meeting also heard discussions are under way with Conwy county council about a joint bid for the £20m for the Clwyd West constituency area.
Denbighshire council will be able to bid for the full £20m for the Vale of Clwyd constituency area, as it resides completely within the county’s boundaries.