A BID to secure funds for a multi-million pound transformation of a poor air quality hotspot in Leamington town centre has been unsuccessful.
The bid for £13million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund was put in by Warwick District Council, with support from Warwickshire County Council’s Highways team, in August 2022.
The cash would have been 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 included 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 were drawn up as part of ongoing work by WCC and formed a central part of the bid for cash from the government’s Levelling Up fund.
If the bid had been successful, the £13million would have been matched with £3.5million of funding from WDC’s Community Infrastructure Levy.
The councils had been undertaking extensive consultation with residents and businesses to help design and refine the draft proposals.
Leamington and Warwick MP Matt Western spoke out in favour of the plans.
At the time of submission he 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.”
The £4.8billion Government Levelling Up Fund contributes to levelling up communities across the UK by investing in infrastructure that improves everyday life including regenerating town centre and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.
A total of 111 areas have been awarded a share of £2.1billion from round two of the fund.
A WDC spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that our bid for this round of Levelling Up funding was unsuccessful. This will however not undermine our ambitious programme of work to renew and regenerate Royal Leamington Spa town centre. With a number of redevelopment schemes already underway including Spencer Yard, the Town Hall Creative Hub and the redevelopment of Stoneleigh Arms, as well as the revival of the former House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer stores, we are optimistic that we will be able to attract further government and private investment.
“As improvements to the Bath Street area remain part of Warwick District Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan, work will continue to develop a scheme that will allow us to provide safe, innovative and inclusive multi-modal transport improvements for the heart of Royal Leamington Spa, enhancing its historic heritage, and improving air quality.”