A BID to secure funds for a multi-million pound transformation of a poor air quality hotspot in Leamington town centre has been submitted to the government.
The bid for £13million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund has been put in by Warwick District Council (WDC), with support from Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) Highways team.
If the cash is secured it will be used for “a range of integrated transport and environmental improvements” to the Bath Street area in Old Town.
Bath Street’s junction with High Street has long been one of the poorest air quality hotspots in the whole county.
Plans to improve the long-standing air quality problems include removing traffic from Bath Street to make it a bus only route, adding a cycle route and improving the pedestrian environment, as well as a new bus interchange on the current WDC owned Bath Place Car Park directly adjacent to the town’s rail station.
These solutions have been drawn up as part of ongoing work by WCC and now form a central part of the bid for cash from the government’s Levelling Up fund.
If successful, the £13million will be matched with £3.5million of funding from WDC’s Community Infrastructure Levy.
The councils will be undertaking extensive consultation with residents and businesses to help design and refine the current draft proposals.
Leamington and Warwick MP Matt Western said: “I have been arguing for many years for the need for an ambitious transport hub immediately adjacent to Leamington station. This would help tackle poor air quality and provide decent public bus and cycle infrastructure. That’s why I lent my support to our regional councils in a bid to secure funding from government for a transport hub in the station area in south Leamington. But I do have some reservations about the detail of the scheme and want the public to be fully consulted before it is finalised.”
WDC Leader Coun Andrew Day continued: “Taking the lead to directly support our transition to sustainable zero carbon travel, is pivotal to achieving the ambitious goals of our local Climate Change Action Programme. Investment in critical infrastructure is key to enable us all to make this step change, without a loss to the quality of our busy lives.
“This innovative outline scheme builds on the work just completed at Leamington Station. It aims to significantly reduce the impact of poor air quality in Leamington, whilst giving a timely boost to local businesses.
“Having the input of residents and businesses in the design and detail of the final plans will be vital in ensuring that a sustainable transport system is created for Old Town that works for everyone. I look forward to hearing the outcome of this bid and hopefully rolling-up my sleeves, working with the public, to get the very best for our beautiful town.”
While WCC Leader Izzy Seccombe added: “The proposals for the Bath Place area absolutely align with the county council’s ambitions for all of Warwickshire. Improved air quality, a more accessible area that gives pedestrians and cyclists access to the businesses and improved public transport are very much at the forefront of our strategies for increasing vibrant local economies while promoting healthy lifestyles.
“It’s essential that both county and district councils work together on the engagement to ensure that the detail of any bid is in keeping with the aspirations of local businesses and residents.”
The government will assess the submitted bids over the coming months.