Transformative Levelling Up Fund bids submitted

Canterbury City Council has today (Tuesday 2 August) submitted its Levelling Up Fund bids for Canterbury and Herne Bay to the government.

The two bids, titled Connected Canterbury: Unlocking the Tales of England and Transformation of Herne Bay’s Seafront, both aim to bring tangible, visible improvements in each area through a variety of regenerative projects.

In Canterbury, the bid centres around three key strands totalling £20 million:

Heritage assets and spaces – targeting sites which are either hidden and at risk, such as the Poor Priests’ Hospital and Canterbury Castle, or are underutilised, like the Westgate Square and Clock Tower Square, for investment to breathe a new lease of life to these areas and buildings.

Green arrival – targeting prominent arrival spaces to radically improve public spaces and navigation around the city, providing opportunities for electric car charging and cycle hire.

Connecting our heritage – providing a new visitor draw with a series of story gardens, linking the gardens’ heritage assets, commercial spaces and arrival points with a series of trails around the city, providing an app to promote all of these including the cycle hire docking and electric vehicle charging locations.

Find out more about the Canterbury bid.

And at Herne Bay, three interlinked projects are also at the heart of the bid, which totals £13 million:

King’s Hall Landmark Music Centre – the venue would be transformed into a new multi-purpose music development, production and performance and community space. The ‘music’ themed centre will have a modernised performance hall with increased capacity and flexibility, better equipment and acoustics.

Central Bandstand Landmark Leisure Hub – currently in a poor condition and partially closed, the bandstand would be fully repaired and restored to allow internal and external spaces to be fully in use for commercial and community activities. The stage would be used for more informal live music, especially for local acts, programmed from the King’s Hall.

Connected Seafront – the project will create a new cycle and walking route, providing a safe and attractive link from Greenhill to the railway station and Memorial Park and through to the town centre and seafront. Supporting elements include lighting on the seafront and at the clocktower, power for events in the Memorial Park and on Central Parade, new CCTV to protect the bandstand and King’s Hall, new electric vehicle charging points and improvements to children’s play facilities.

Find out more about the Herne Bay bid.

Each bid contains a huge amount of detail, with the extensive benefits for Canterbury and Herne Bay set out alongside the timetables and how the bids will be delivered up 2025.

Leader of Canterbury City Council, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “We are incredibly excited to have submitted our Levelling Up Fund bids today. It’s a wonderful moment, the culmination of months and months of really hard work from people across the council and at various partner organisations.

“We’ve really gone full throttle for this so that we have the very best chance of both bids being successful and can bring about the change we want to see.

“I would in particular like to thank our two local MPs, Rosie Duffield for Canterbury and Sir Roger Gale in Herne Bay, for their support. I know they have been firmly backing the bids for their area and this has been really appreciated.

“I would also like to give special thanks to Stephen Allen and the Canterbury Connected Business Improvement District for sharing their Canterbury’s Tales of England vision and working with us to help inspire our Canterbury bid.”

The council expects to hear in the autumn if its bids have been successful. If they are, work on each bid must have started by the end of March 2023 in order to unlock the funding.

Edit notes:

This press release was initially published on Tuesday 2 August. It was updated on Wednesday 10 August to add the images and links to the documents with more information on the two bids.

Published: 2 August 2022

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