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Government has distributed £4.8bn across three funding rounds, with an estimated £1.1bn designated to cultural projects.

Computer-generated image of future theatre and cultural hub in Andover
Computer-generated image of future theatre and cultural hub in Andover

Test Valley Borough Council

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has split £1bn between 55 local authorities in the third and final round of the Levelling Up Fund.

According to the selection methodology published on the government’s website, £100m was set aside for culture. 

The majority (£825m) of the final tranche went towards regenerating towns and cities, with £150m allocated to developing better transport links.


Across the three rounds, £4.8bn has been awarded to more than 270 projects. In total, an estimated £1.1bn has gone towards cultural projects.

The 55 projects awarded in the final Levelling Up Fund were chosen from bids which missed out on funding in round two but were assessed as high quality and able to deliver quickly.

Martin Tett, Chair of the Local Government Association’s People and Places Board, said: “It is positive to see that places which had been overlooked in previous rounds have been included on the strength of their previous bids and that culture is given the extra recognition it deserves in strengthening pride-in-place”.

“Streamlining the long list of local funding pots, reducing the need for costly funding competitions and allocating funds based on robust evidence have been long-held asks of local government. It is good that these calls have been heard.”

Cultural projects

Among the cultural projects receiving funding is a refurbishment of the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot. It will receive part of £15m delivered to Neath Port Talbot Council to regenerate its town centre and Civic Square.

Meanwhile, Test Valley Borough Council in Hampshire has received £18.3m to build a multi-purpose theatre and cultural hub in Andover.

The new venue, which forms part of the town centre masterplan, will replace existing venue The Lights with a larger theatre and space for culture and creative activities.

Council Leader Phil North said the funding is “absolutely amazing news for Andover and will be transformational for our town”.

“Our efforts in developing a cultural programme of events and progressing with other aspects of our town’s redevelopment clearly shows that Andover is a place that is ready to move forward. We have a huge amount of experience in running a successful theatre with creative spaces and the new venue in the centre of town will become an invaluable asset for the local community.”

In South Tyneside, £20m will be split across three projects, including the redevelopment of Grade II-listed cultural hub Customs House and a cultural quarter.

South Tyneside Council Leader Tracey Dixon said the three inter-connecting projects aim to boost the economic and social recovery of South Shields through culture, skills and the green economy.

She added: “This is fantastic news and I'm delighted that government has recognised the strength of our original bid”.

And part of £18.2m awarded to Moray Council will go towards a creative arts centre that will provide news jobs and support the local creative industries sector and community art projects. 

“Investment of this scale will level up Elgin and the whole of Moray, bringing much-loved Moray features and buildings back to life, creating jobs, and introducing a lively night-time economy,” Council Leader Kathleen Robertson said.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said all funded projects will create new jobs and opportunities, power economic growth and revitalise local areas.

“Levelling up means delivering local people’s priorities and bringing transformational change in communities that have, for too long, been overlooked and undervalued,” Gove added.