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£50 million bid to secure futures of Cleator Moor and Millom

Roger Morris-Eyton and Kayleigh Danels

A bid for up to £50 million to invest into the future of two West Cumbrian communities has been unveiled.

Cleator Moor and Millom’s town boards have finalised their applications for the Government’s Towns Fund.

If successful, it is hoped that up to £25 million of investment from the Government will be pumped into each town.

Copeland Council was invited to bid for funding on behalf of Cleator Moor (incorporating Cleator) and Millom (incorporating Haverigg) in January last year.

Town boards were created, made up of community representatives, which have been working in with the council to produce town investment plans.

The plans are broken down into categories for each town:

Cleator Moor and Cleator:

  • Enterprising Town: To achieve the town’s potential from industrial assets, including the redevelopment of Leconfield Industrial Estate into an enterprise cluster supporting the development of new skills and businesses.
  • Revitalised Town: To bring back into use vacant and underused buildings in the Square for a range of uses, including a community/cultural hub, café, visitor information and commercial space. Public realm improvement are also included.
  • Campus Town: To increase the presence of the University of Central Lancashire for student accommodation, teaching and health facilities.
  •  Healthy Town: To create a new multi-purpose centre for sports and recreation, supporting skills and increasing the attractiveness of Cleator Moor as a place to live.
  • Connected Town: To improve networks and infrastructure for walking and cycling.

Millom and Haverigg

  • Iron Line: To transform the unique coastal lagoon into a major visitor attraction, between Millom and Haverigg, through the creation of a new linear park, fusing ecology, heritage and art into a fully inclusive recreational space incorporating walking and cycling.
  •  Reactivating Heritage Buildings: To bring back into use vacant and underused heritage buildings in Millom town centre for a range of uses, including workspace, residential, retail, arts and culture. Public realm improvements are also included.
  • Activating Community Health: To create a new multi-purpose centre to develop the leisure economy, including leisure provision, skills support, swimming pool and fitness space. Improvements to parks and a 3G pitch are also included.
  •  Connected Millom and Haverigg: To improve the transport network, walking and cycling infrastructure, and to strengthen Millom Railway Station as a transport hub.

Mike Starkie, Copeland mayor, said: “I firmly believe that these investment plans will help create a sustainable – and prosperous – future for these wonderful towns.

“In terms of what we set out to achieve in order to meet local priorities, the plans tick every box; encouraging employment, harnessing growth and innovation, improving health and wellbeing, facilitating regeneration, and enhancing our visitors economy, transport and accessibility.

“I’d like to commend both town boards for their outstanding work to get to this milestone submission, and they have achieved significant levels of engagement with – and support from – their respective communities to arrive at the final proposals.”

Kayleigh Daniels, chair of the Cleator Moor Town Board, said: “I would personally like to thank all involved; the passion and desire for something good for Cleator Moor and Cleator has been clear.

“Getting the bid to this stage has been a real challenge and the process has demanded a lot from all partners, but those who understand the Cleator Moor community, will know that this commitment was never in doubt.

“We have all felt an enormous pressure to pull together a bid that gives the best possible chance of securing Government investment, while ensuring the projects are inclusive and deliver benefits for the whole town.

“If we are successful, the Town Fund will transform our town, however it is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We shouldn’t wait around to see what might come next from Whitehall; we need to build on this momentum and collectively we need to make these opportunities happen for Cleator Moor.”

Robert Morris-Eyton, chair of the Millom Town Board, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Millom including Haverigg, and I firmly believe that the plan we are putting forward realises our long-term ambitions for the area; to create a vibrant town, revitalise the economy and transform our outlook.

“We are submitting the plan on behalf of the town, and having been informed by extremely high levels of engagement and support from our wonderful community, we strongly believe we are delivering what the town would like to see.

“I would like to commend the board for adapting to the most challenging of circumstances to achieve everything we have achieved to get to this submission, and we are proud to present our community’s vision for the town.”

Trudy Harrison, Copeland MP, said: “The Government has rightly identified huge potential to be unleashed in Cleator Moor and Millom.

“That is what the Towns Fund bids are designed to do; playing to existing strengths, working with community leaders, creating springboards for future growth and tapping into emerging markets.

“Priority projects include developing Leconfield Industrial Estate in Cleator Moor securing the much-needed pool for Millom, but much more could and should be achieved.”

The plans will be submitted by the end of this week, and both town boards anticipate feedback from the Government and a potential offer of funding before the end of March.