Residents, businesses and visitors in Southampton could benefit from significant investment in three ambitious projects in the city.  The council is submitting three bids to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund totalling £55 million, which will unlock over £80 million in capital investment in the city. The Levelling Up Fund is a competitive fund, with money distributed to places across the UK based on how they best meet a range of criteria. Southampton’s plans aim to boost local spending and job creation, support communities to live healthy and active lives, and strengthen resident pride.  The bids focus on supplementing and significantly uplifting existing schemes in the city centre, at the Outdoor Sports Centre and at Itchen riverside. Our three bids are: 

  1. Southampton City of Opportunity: Reconnecting the heart of the city to green and blue spaces. The city centre bid is focused on heritage enhancements to the Bargate, transport connectivity and regeneration of Mayflower Park. 
  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.  
  3. Southampton City of Opportunity: Riverside protection enabling future regeneration. Funding secured from this bid will deliver the first phase of flood alleviation works to Itchen Riverside: Drivers Wharf, and will include cycle route improvements, flood defences and site clearance enabling future regeneration at the site.  

All the bids support Southampton’s vision to become a City of Opportunity, where no one is left behind, and everyone shares in the city’s prosperity.  Southampton ranks in the worst 20% of England for income deprivation effecting children and the Levelling Up Fund provides Southampton with a vital opportunity to elevate existing plans for the benefit of future generations.

The bids also complement other Southampton priority projects, which focus on creating greater equity across the city, including; the Solent Free Port, Net Zero by 2030, UNICEF Child Friendly City, a world class waterfront, and a more user-friendly and sustainable transport system.

If successful, there will be a comprehensive public consultation process regarding 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 a sizable £80 million worth of capital investment into the city.  If successful in the bidding process we will be able to accelerate 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.”


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