Moray Council to bid for £18 million from the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund
Moray Council is to submit a bid to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund for £18.29m. Local authorities from across the country are expected to apply, and it will be a competitive process.
The Fund is designed to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life by supporting town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets. Proposed projects are set to deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the whole of Moray including the creation of dozens of jobs.
The projects being submitted in the bid take in the Auction Mart and former Sawmill by Linkwood Road, which have been lying vacant for a number of years. Flooding issues and access constraints will be addressed before the sites are opened up for commercial development.
The Central Elgin project will support the development of the evening economy in Elgin and see the Elgin Club re-open, after 20 years, as a boutique hotel with bar and restaurant facilities with a variety of options for entertainment, dining and socialising. The ground-floor Reading Room will provide a high quality space, available for use for small scale events. It’s expected at least 32 jobs will be created with this project.
A number of properties, including 51 and 57 South Street, the derelict former Jailhouse nightclub, Newmarket bar, and the old Victoria Market, will bring forward commercial, retail, and residential development, including the creation of a new student social space in partnership with Highlands and Islands Student Association.
A creative arts centre on South Street will provide eight new jobs and deliver long-term community benefit to support the creative industries sector and community art projects across Moray.
Improved traffic control measures and streetscape works will support active travel, address accessibility issues, provide new disabled parking and help create an outdoor café culture to complete the Central Elgin project.
Finally, supporting the Moray Growth Deal Cultural Quarter, is the re-imagining of Cooper Park. Bringing the pond back into active use with accessible walkways, planting for biodiversity, new seating, and boat/paddleboard hire from a jetty.
The existing toilet block will be extended and repurposed into a café and ticket office with changing places toilet to improve facilities for park users. A new outdoor amphitheatre and performance space will be developed for hire for drama, music, film events, festivals and use by local groups.
Speaking after full council approved the bid, Moray Council Convener, Cllr Marc Macrae, said: “The scale of these projects is ambitious and that is exactly what we need to be for Moray.
“Investment of this magnitude will level up Elgin and Moray, with the creation of jobs, introduction of a vibrant night-time economy and bringing much-loved Moray features and buildings back to life.
“The projects all meet the strict criteria of the Fund, such as being interlinked and complementary to each other and what a way to kick-off this regeneration of the capital of Moray.
“I hope the public will get behind these monumental projects and play their part in helping to shape the design of them. I look forward to the outcome of the bid, which is expected in the autumn, and to experiencing this exciting, revamped Elgin.”