Last week £2.1 billion was awarded to transformational projects across the United Kingdom as part of the second round of the Levelling Up Fund.
Major government investment will benefit millions of people and spread opportunity to historically overlooked areas - with £672 million to develop better transport links, £821 million to kick-start community regeneration, and £594 million to restore local heritage sites.
Examples of projects to receive investment this round include the nearby Cardiff Crossrail, which will raise the economic performances of the wider region, and which I was pleased to visit last week in my capacity as Secretary of State for Transport.
The Forest of Dean has already received a successful £20 million Levelling Up bid in the first round of funding just over a year ago and I am glad to have played my part in helping deliver it, making the case for it to Rishi Sunak, the then Chancellor.
I have been attending regular meetings about our bid and can report that fantastic progress is being made on its delivery.
The tender process is underway for ‘Destination Five Acres’ and good progress has been made on equipping it with a 3G pitch and pavilion. The District Council identifies that the demolition process of the old site has already proven to have recycled £170,000 of the Levelling Up funding back into the local economy.
Hartpury University are also making fantastic progress with their portion of the bid. Their 32 car electric vehicle parking is, for the most part, already complete and construction is underway on their Innovation, Careers & Enterprise Learning Centre.
And finally, the Cinderford Town Regeneration Project is coming along well, as I saw with my own eyes last week. External works to Rheola House are around 70% complete and, also on Belle Vue road, solar panel installation has commenced on The Wesley.
Our local project is already exemplifying what the Government is trying to achieve with the Levelling Up agenda - greater investment in communities to create new jobs, drive economic growth, help restore people’s pride in the places where they live, and spread opportunity more equally.
This article was first published in The Forester newspaper.