Levelling Up Fund Waterfront Programme
Decision Maker: Assistant Director: Finance & Investment
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
On 27 October 2021, the Council received notification of the outcome of its submission to the first round of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Levelling Up Fund (LUF). This announcement set out that the Council had received its full requested allocation of £19,648,873 for a package of projects at Woodside.
Approval was given in February 2022 for the Director of Regeneration and Place to accept the grant funding and to commence activity to develop and deliver the Council’s Levelling Up Programme (Officer Decision Notice, 17 February 2022 refers).
Town centre regeneration, transport improvements and the creation of quality places is a long-standing priority for the Council and is reflected in the Wirral Council Plan 2021-2026.
The proposals contained in this report directly support the following key themes within the Wirral Plan:
- A thriving and inclusive economy, creating jobs and opportunities for all;
- A clean-energy, sustainable borough, leading the way in tackling the environment crisis;
- Safe and pleasant communities that our residents are proud of; and
- Healthy and active lives for all, with the right care, at the right time.
One of the projects being delivered through the Council’s Levelling Up Fund Programme is a new International Battle of the Atlantic, a world class visitor destination which is uniquely split on two banks of the Mersey. Proposals include the complete redevelopment of the U-boat Story, an education centre and memorial site for the Battle of the Atlantic. The project is being led by Big Heritage, a Community Interest Company with a strong track record of delivering projects to connect communities and audience to their shared heritage.
A total of£2,933,116 has been awarded to support the International Battle of the Atlantic Project, to be spent by March 2024.
This report seeks approval to provide advanced grant payments to Big Heritage C.I.C to enable effective project delivery, subject to the provisions set out in paragraph 4.7.
This matter affects the ward of Birkenhead and Tranmere.
That the Director of Resources has approved advance payments to be
Made to Big Heritage C.I.C as the grant beneficiary of the Council’s
Levelling Up Fund Round 1 allocation, to enable project delivery, in
accordance with paragraph 4.7 of this report.
Reasons for the decision:
To enable the delivery of the Levelling Up Fund Programme at Woodside and to meet the requirements of the Memorandum on Understanding currently in place between DLUHC and the Council.
Alternative options considered:
The Council has the option to not provide advanced funding to Big Heritage
C.I.C, however, it is estimated that the capital outlay for the project will be
significant, in particular during the project construction phase. As a Community
Interest Company, it will not be possible for Big Heritage to use their own cash
flow to deliver the project and then claim the funding from the Council following
this spend. Failure to support the delivery of the project could result in clawback
of £2,933,116 by DLUHC and would undermine the wider Woodside Waterfront
regeneration programme. This option has therefore been discounted.
Publication date: 27/07/2022
Date of decision: 27/07/2022
Effective from: 02/08/2022