Southampton bids for £55 million investment to the Levelling Up Fund

The three plans aim to boost local spending and job creation, support communities to live healthy and active lives, and strengthen resident pride in the city

The council has submitted three bids to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund totalling £55 million. These will unlock over £80 million investment in the city.

The Levelling Up Fund is a competitive fund. This means that money goes to places across the UK based on how they meet a range of criteria. The bids focus on uplifting existing schemes in the city centre, at the Outdoor Sports Centre and at Itchen riverside. The three bids are:

1. Southampton City of Opportunity: Reconnecting the heart of the city to green and blue spaces

The city centre bid focuses on heritage enhancements to the Bargate, transport connectivity and regeneration of Mayflower Park.

Illustration of Bargate enhancements

2. Southampton City of Opportunity: Inclusive access to sport

This bid will support the regeneration of the Outdoor Sports Centre as a modern multi-sports venue for people across the city.

Siteplan of the Outdoor Sports Centre

3. Southampton City of Opportunity: Riverside protection enabling future regeneration

Funding secured from this bid will deliver the first phase of flood mitigation works to Itchen Riverside: Drivers Wharf. It will include cycle route improvements, flood defences and site clearance enabling future regeneration at the site.

The river Itchen, including the shoreline and several boats

All the bids support Southampton’s vision to become a City of Opportunity, where everyone shares in the city’s prosperity. Southampton ranks in the worst 20% of England for income deprivation affecting children. The Levelling Up Fund provides the city with a vital opportunity to elevate existing plans for the benefit of future generations.

The bids also complement other Southampton projects that focus on creating greater equity across the city. These include the Solent Free Port, Net Zero by 2030, and UNICEF Child Friendly City. As well as a world class waterfront and a more sustainable transport system.

If successful, there will be a public consultation process on the content of each bid.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, Councillor Darren Paffey said:

“We are incredibly excited to be bidding for the next phase of Levelling Up funding. We are submitting three excellent and robust bids that have the needs of citizens at their heart. The three projects represent £80 million worth of capital investment into the city. If successful in the bidding process we will be able to speed up business growth and job creation, skills development, support space for leisure and culture, improve health and wellbeing, and protect the waterfront for future generations. We have the backing of all three local MPs and are very much hopeful of success.”