AN AMBITIOUS proposal is being devised to access funds to regenerate Kendal.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), in partnership with Cumbria County Council, is developing an application for the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, which will focus on the regeneration of the town centre and its ‘high street offer’, including improvements to the outdoor market and the delivery of ‘active travel improvements’ along the River Kent.

In the agenda for the next meeting of Cumbria County Council’s local committee for South Lakeland, documents state the money would fund projects that will “support economic activity and inclusive growth by optimising the gateways and active travel routes in the town centre to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth" and “see investment in the river corridor to improve connectivity across Kendal through improved local infrastructure for active travel.”

Plans include new education 'accommodation' at the Westmorland Shopping Centre, regeneration of the market hall, regeneration of the market place and upgrades to a section of the riverside travel route between Lowther Street and Abbot Hall.

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These, it states, would “strengthen the regional role of Kendal and support the council’s ambition around the delivery of active and sustainable transport in the creation of attractive places and vibrant communities”.

It added: “It is intended that these proposals can support the role of Kendal as a place to live, work and invest; making the most of the town’s historic and natural capital.

“In particular it is considered that it can better meet the needs of younger people and business bringing through a focus on further embedding education in the heart of the town alongside an improved market offer.

“The project also seeks to support cycling and walking infrastructure utilising the riverside corridor, building on one of Kendal’s most important assets.”

In 2021, the Government announced the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund (LUF) which was to be allocated over two competitive funding rounds.

£1.7bn was allocated in the first round and the second opened in March, with applications due by July 6.

The agenda stated that although funding is to be allocated following a competitive process across the UK, places have been prioritised for funding by the Government following a ‘qualitative assessment process’.

South Lakeland has been identified as category three, which the agenda states would mean the application for the fund would need to be ‘exceptional’ if it is to succeed.

SLDC and Cumbria County Council have been working on the proposal since May 2021, which has been further supported by the establishment of a Kendal Town Team, comprised of members from the Cumbria County Council, SLDC, Kendal Town Council and Kendal Futures.

If successful, the delivery of the scheme will be undertaken by Westmorland and Furness Council.

The committee on June 10 will determine whether to offer its support to the proposals being devised.