Three key amenities will benefit from state-of-the-art makeovers after Leek received a multi-million pound boost from the Government.
The historic market town, well-known for its cultural heritage, has been awarded £17.1 million through the Levelling-up Fund.
The Government scheme has sparked some controversy after critics called it a “lottery” and a “begging bowl” approach. Others suggested the south of the country had benefitted more than the north, a claim refuted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Many areas around the country have missed out, with only around one in five of the bids being successful. The West Midlands as a whole received £155m from a £2.1 billion pot.
Leek is one of 111 areas to receive a share of the pot in the latest round of awards. It follows a successful bid by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council whose package of improvements includes:
- Modernising retail facilities and trader opportunities at the Trestle Market and the Victorian Butter Market.
- Developing a wellness hub at Brough Park Leisure Centre, the multi-purpose fitness facility situated in the heart of the town.
- Upgrading the first floor of the Nicholson Institute (built in 1884), which houses a museum and art gallery, to provide cultural and education facilities – a partnership project with Staffordshire County Council and Buxton and Leek College.
Council Leader Paul Roberts said: “I am delighted that the people and businesses of Leek can now look forward with certainty to this once-in-a-lifetime regeneration opportunity.
“This is the news we were waiting for and is the best possible start to the New Year for the town.
“We want to work with our communities, businesses and other partners to ensure that this huge investment in our town is well spent – and that we see improvements to the markets, the Nicholson and our health and wellbeing facilities that benefit our people and our economy for generations to come.”
However, despite success in Leek, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is disappointed that its bid for funding towards a new wellness hub in Cheadle was not successful.
The Levelling Up grant for Staffordshire Moorlands is the second piece of good news on the funding front for the county – a £20 million grant for transport projects has been announced following a successful bid by Staffordshire County Council.