Date published: 19th January 2023

North Norfolk District Council has not been granted Levelling Up funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) after an extended and delayed wait.

The Council was disappointed to receive notification that two bids have been declined by the DLUHC despite North Norfolk being identified as a Priority 1 area and the proposals having the backing of both the District’s MPs.

Two bids were submitted covering the North Norfolk district and representing a total value of £19,446,419 under the two-constituency bid allowance for Fakenham in the Broadland Constituency, and Cromer in the North Norfolk Constituency.

North Norfolk District Council is one of five Tier-2 authorities in Norfolk to submit bids and one of four Priority One areas for funding. Of the 8 bids in total for Norfolk, 2 bids were accepted – Norfolk County Council for a transport scheme in Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth.

The Council will invite North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker and Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew to discuss why the two bids were declined despite our priority funding status and how North Norfolk can secure Government funding for projects of importance to our area in future Government programmes.

Cllr. Tim Adams, Leader of the Council said: “As a Council we were disappointed that our Levelling Up bids were rejected, despite the local importance, the strong support of our residents and having secured the support of the District’s two MPs.

In North Norfolk, it is our concern the area is being passed over for central government funding, despite being identified as a Priority area for funding. We are inviting feedback from the Department of Housing, Levelling Up and Communities as to why similar schemes with a lower priority status have been awarded funding and North Norfolk has been turned down.”

Steve Blatch, Chief Executive, said:
“It is disappointing that the two bids submitted by the District Council on behalf of local communities and which secured strong community support have not been successful through this round of the Levelling Up programme.  As a Council we need to understand why our projects were not deemed worthy of support at this time, but initial analysis suggests that the vast majority of projects approved through this round were in locations with much larger populations than our projects in North Norfolk and we need to understand if the rural nature and dispersed population of our district is a feature in perhaps limiting the outcomes which can be achieved by our proposals relative to other areas.”

Fakenham Leisure and Sports Hub (Broadland Constituency) - £10,951,419

The Fakenham bid proposed an extension to the existing sports facility at Trap Lane in Fakenham, which is owned by the Council and operated by Everyone Active – the facility currently comprises of a sports hall, fitness suite, multi-use area, dance studio, changing rooms and reception area.

In the proposal, the facility would have benefitted from a new 25m four-lane swimming pool, with moveable floor and a new 3G all-weather artificial grass pitch. An allocation of £1,000,000 was also made for carbon reduction measures, allowing the council to retrofit the existing building.

The Council consulted with Fakenham residents on the plans and received over 1000 responses with the vast majority in support of the provision of a new pool and outdoor facilities. Many residents have campaigned for a new pool facility for Fakenham following the closure of the Fakenham Academy pool in August 2014.

“Cromer – New Facets for Norfolk’s Gem” (North Norfolk Constituency) - £8,495,000

The Cromer Levelling up bid related to a programme of investment in the public open space and related infrastructure of Cromer’s clifftop gardens and wild spaces, based on increasing the accessibility, health and wellbeing of residents and visitors to the town, complementing wider investment made by the District Council over many years in Cromer Pier, the promenades and town centre.

An expansive and innovative bid for Cromer, the bid would have seen an orientation hub at Runton Road car park, with Changing Places toilets, electric charging points and accessible cycle and buggy hire. Complimenting the orientation of the town, a network of walking and cycling routes were proposed, making the town more accessible and interconnected, improving routes between the beach and town centre too.

Alongside these developments, the Council proposed to re-model and landscape North Lodge Park, with new and improved facilities, including multi-purpose space for events, a splash pad, public toilets, and an area to host concessions - transforming the area to support the resident and visitor experience and bring jobs and commerce to the local economy.

The Council had further proposed to improve and increase the green spaces along the clifftops, with fully accessible, serviced outdoor recreation spaces and the implementation of a new bowling pavilion, sensory garden and free play areas.  Safer lighting, pedestrian crossings and traffic management for the town would have been delivered in unison with the developments

Last updated: 12th April 2023