Melton and Rutland submit joint Levelling Up Fund bid


Melton Borough Council and Rutland County Council have collaborated together to submit a joint bid for the second round of Levelling Up Fund, which aims to boost the economy of the local towns and improve connectivity between them and more rural areas.

Cllr Joe Orson, Leader of Melton Borough Council said “Melton Mowbray and Oakham are rural, historic market towns with huge potential for growth. The bid submission focusses on our distinctive local assets, capitalising on the economic potential of both areas to push economic innovation, cultural destination and mobility. Through building closer links between the two regions and developing the proposals on offer we can help make these two rural regions on the East Midlands, vibrant hubs for tourism and innovation.”

The joint funding bid is seeking for £23m investment from the Government to deliver food production units, events space and refurbished theatre in Melton as well as a medi-tech facility and digitalisation of the museum offer in Oakham.

Alicia Kearns MP for Rutland and Melton, who has been supportive of, and involved, throughout the bid process, said “This fantastic bid sees Rutland and Melton make the case that we can be rural powerhouses. The proposals would deliver on the aspirations and priorities of our local communities around health, transport, job opportunities and celebrating our unique heritage and culture and help level up our rural way of life.”

If successful the funding will be used to develop over 2500sqm of flexible food and drink production units within the Stockyard, creating a food and drink innovation showcase alongside a multifunctional event space which could host exciting events and activities throughout the year. The site will include a support service to help small or upcoming local producers develop and grow in the Rural Capital of Food.

The bid will also look to improve the SMB College Group’s Melton campus theatre. These upgrades will make the space more accessible, ensuring it is able to secure and attract larger scale commercial events more often to provide a regular calendar of activity that will, alongside the stockyard, support the town centre and its burgeoning evening economy.

Finally, Melton’s proposals in the bid also look at improving the mobility between both Melton Mowbray and Oakham, specifically in the more rural parts, through developing two distinct bus routes.

Alongside Melton’s bid, Rutland County Council have proposed to digitalise parts of Rutland County Museum to allow the more unique and delicate assets they have secured, such as the largest Ichthyosaur fossil and their 4th Century roman villa mosaic, to be more accessible to the public. Plans are also in place to create a Medi-tech centre at Rutland Hospital. The proposed centre would be a suitable training base for students in the local universities, tackling the well-established understanding that the antidote to the skills shortages, at the heart of rural health inequalities, lies in the development and training of people in rural settings themselves.

Cllr Lucy Stephenson, Leader of Rutland County Council said ‘We are pleased to be working alongside Melton Borough Council on the Levelling Up bid. This bid focusses on key priorities for us in Rutland. If successful we will see real benefits to our residents, businesses and visitors by reducing health inequalities, increasing highly skilled job opportunities, improving mobility throughout the area, increasing access to cultural offers and much more’.


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12 August 2022