Levelling Up

Melton Borough Council and Rutland County Council have been successful in a joint funding bid, and will receive £23 million to invest in the two areas.

The joint funding bid sought £23m investment from the Government to be used to support development of food production units, events space and to refurbish the town's theatre in Melton as well as a medi-tech facility and digitalisation of the museum offer in Oakham.

The themes for the joint bid:

Food Innovation

Development of the Stockyard site to provide a multifunctional open air events space and associated infrastructure, food and drinks production units and spaces where visitors can enjoy our local produce.

In conjunction with future planned investment in the town centre this will create a unique destination that will support the wider town centre area during the day through attracting new and repeat visitors to the area.

The SMB College Group’s Melton campus theatre in the town centre, will receive investment to refurbish the main auditorium and backstage facilities, making the space more accessible.

The site is used as a lecture theatre for local performing arts students and a location for professional and amateur productions. The updated facilities instil Melton as a top choice for local aspiring performing arts students as well as attract larger scale commercial events to the area to support the evening economy

Health Innovation 

Development of a new digital innovation facility anchored around health at the Oakham Hospital Site (Rutland) supporting the creation of high growth businesses and extending into a new digital visitor experience showcasing the globally significant recent archaeological finds in Rutland.

Sustainable Travel

Enhancing access, through the development of an e-enabled, community directed approach to demand focus travel, based on a Mobi-Hub, headquartered at the Oakham Hospital Site but providing links across the whole geography harnessing the economic potential of over 100,000 people.

Find out more about the successful bid

The Council will work Rutland County Council, partners and officials from DHLUC on next steps for the various projects involved.


What is the Levelling Up fund?

The Levelling Up Fund is designed to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK. The Government fund aims to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.

How much has Melton Borough Council received?

Melton and Rutland have been allocated the full amount of £22.95 million for their joint Levelling Up bid.

Melton will receive just over £12 million of the allocation to deliver the submitted proposals in our borough.

How is it proposed to spend that funding?

A summary document (Levelling up proposition for Rutland and Melton) has been developed which identifies how the £22.95 million funding will be allocated between each of the projects proposed in the bid, throughout both Melton and Rutland. You can view and download this at the bottom of this page.

The key projects in Melton will be based at the SMB College theatre and the Stockyard, which are both located within 350 metres of the Market Square and are an easy reach form the north end of the high street with the Stockyard falling within the Town BID Levy area. These two projects were included within the approved Town Centre Vision, adopted in 2022.

Map of Melton Mowbray showing the Market place, Stockyard and SMB theatre

  • Refurbishment of the SMB College Group’s Melton campus theatre in the town centre. Significant investment will be made to the auditorium and backstage facilities, enhancing the experience for both customers and performers. The updated facilities will attract performing arts students as well as larger scale commercial events to the area, increasing tourism in Melton and, in turn, supporting the local economy in the wider town centre.

  • Investment into the Stockyard, Melton Mowbray Town Centre. The investment at the stockyard in the heart of Melton Mowbray, will be put towards developing a centre of excellence around food production and experience, complimenting the food and drink retail offer within the high street area. This project will support and grow the burgeoning food and drink producers in the area and deliver upon the areas claim to being the “Rural Capital of Food.”

    Alongside this, the development will bring forward a multifunctional event space that will support the growth of our existing events in the area as well as attracting new and varied events throughout the calendar year. This will drive new and repeat footfall into the town centre to the benefit of all

    As mentioned, food and drink production and supporting local businesses will be the heart of the site, with an Anchor building being developed on the site that will offer space for support, small scale events and networking opportunities for local businesses  as well as a development kitchen space. Under-used, dilapidated buildings and sheds will be converted into smaller food production units and new buildings will be erected on site to create more space for new and growing food and drink businesses. The production units will also allow production activity to be part of the visitor experience at the Stockyard.

Additionally, as part of Rutland’s projects within the Levelling Up bid, we will see the creation of a Mobi-Hub, travel anchor in Oakham. This includes the development of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) services connecting the 2 county towns covering the following routes:

Route A: from Oakham to Melton via Langham, Cold Overton, Knossington, Somerby, Little Dalby, Great Dalby.

Route B: Oakham to Melton operating via, Saxby, Wymondham, Thistleton, Market Overton, Teigh and Ashwell.

What are the next steps?

Following the announcement, we are currently awaiting further information from government on the process for obtaining the money and will obviously need to understand and agree to the conditions placed upon it.

Once this has been agreed, we will work with partners to mobilise projects and begin delivery as soon as we are able to.

What opportunities will this create in the town and those who live here?

The refurbishment of the College Theatre in the town centre will enable the SMB College Group to further expand its offering and significantly improve its facilities to continue to attract a wide range of commercial productions of all sizes. This will widen Melton’s tourism offer and provide a significant boost into our evening economy.

In addition, the development at the Stockyard will create a food production hub right in the heart of the Rural Capital of Food. Several flexible units will be created that could host up to 25 businesses at any one time. The site will be a hub for food businesses offering a supportive environment for budding food and drink entrepreneurs, a networking space for established businesses and high quality  food and drink experiences for visitors.

Furthermore, the existing event infrastructure on the site will be significantly enhanced to create a multifunctional event space that will retain and support the already renowned events that take place at the Stockyard each year and draw in tens of thousands of visitors. The new infrastructure will attract new regional and national events to the area, enticing new tourists to the town, to further support the local economy by bringing in additional footfall to the town centre each year.

In total it is projected that the developments across both sites could provide up to 180 new jobs in Melton.

What was the approval process for the final bid submissions.

The proposals are referenced within the Town Centre Vision which was developed in partnership with stakeholders and key organisations from across the town, and approved by the Council in the Summer 2022. The draft document was published for public consultation and received positive feedback from respondents in relation to the projects identified for delivery within the town.

The two Melton elements of the bid related to the Stockyard and Theatre were included within the first round bid to the Levelling Up Fund, though this was unsuccessful. Though a third element of the bid was removed due to it not being sufficiently developed to meet the deliverability criteria, following positive feedback of the original bid, it was agreed to resubmit the two proposals again for the second round bid, alongside the plans provided by Rutland.

This was because these projects best met the criteria around deliverability and value for money, as set out in the guidance for the Levelling up Fund, and therefore had the best chance of success in bringing significant investment into Melton. Submitting less well formed proposals or ones were there was uncertainty about how they would be delivered would have made a successful bid extremely unlikely.

The final draft of the Town Centre Vison was then approved by key partners and stakeholders within the town. After which it was reviewed by our Scrutiny Committee and finally our Cabinet – who approved the document on 16 June 2022.

The Levelling Up Round 2 bid was developed at the same time to create realistic proposals of how these development opportunities set out in the vison could be achieved with investment from the Levelling Up Fund. The decision to submit the Levelling Up Round 2 bid jointly with Rutland was taken to Cabinet, who also approved this submission on 16 June 2022.

Development has already been done at the theatre and the Stockyard, why were these the chosen projects?

After our unsuccessful bid in the round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund, we carried out extensive research with partners and stakeholders to identify a series of development opportunities within the town. This was developed into the Town Centre Vison which has been a key component of the Levelling Up Round 2 bid.

The criteria and eligibility for the Levelling Up Fund meant that deliverability over a short timescale was a key aspect of proposals being awarded the funding.

Due to this, it was felt that the only projects that had the potential to be successful in obtaining funding where those at SMB college and Stockyard due to the previous work undertaken at the sites in preparation for the first round bid and due to the work undertaken since then to improve both sites. The additional aspect that both projects had further progressed would give assurance to government around our ability and intent to deliver quickly, providing more confidence that the bid could be successful this time round.

We are thrilled to have been award this funding and now a project that may have taken 15 years to come forward without the Government funding, will be delivered significantly quicker, allowing our community and businesses to reap the benefits sooner.

What about the other areas in the Town Centre?

The levelling up funding has been specifically awarded based on our bid proposal and must be spent bringing these projects to life. The bid was developed with key partners and stakeholders, who were consulted throughout its development.

Alongside developing the Levelling Up Round 2 bid, we also worked with partners and stakeholder to develop the Town Centre Vision (which identifies a series of development opportunities in the town centre) and a UKSPF investment Plan to secure investment into the town

To help implement these plans we are working on multiple projects to help and support the town centre and the local economy. We will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to develop and implement the best and most realistic ways to do this – including continuing to apply for additional funding and grants where possible.

As part of this, significant investment into our town centre will be delivered via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) programme. In total £1.19 million has been secured to invest in our economies and communities by 31 March 2025. A significant proportion of this funding will either be directly invested into the town through tourism promotion, business support and grants (for town based businesses), funding to assess and develop new propositions for the town market and to then put them in place, as well as options to support further work on how best to utilise the Bell Centre moving forward.

Additional resource will also be used to ensuring our high streets are keep cleaner and to support continued work of partners with general environmental maintenance and planting in the town.

Alongside this, we will continue to move other project forward that will benefit Melton Mowbray, our residents and businesses, such as the work we are doing to improve the CCTV within the town centre.

When will these projects be completed?

A projected timescale for delivery was submitted to government as part of the bid. However, due to delays in the outcomes from the bidding process being confirmed, this will have to be reviewed by the project team. The purpose of the fund is to enable deliverable projects to come forward so we will want to proceed as quick as we are able but need to await further information from government before confirming.

Last updated 12 July 2023
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