BIDS for up to £40m in ‘levelling up’ regeneration cash are to be made to improve both Bury and Radcliffe town centres.

Following the announcement of the central government Levelling Up Fund in the 2021 budget, Bury Council is proposing to submit two bids in round one of the scheme.

The council’s cabinet has agreed one for Radcliffe and a second for a ‘flexi-hall’ to boost retail in Bury town centre.

The cabinet is this week set to approve expenditure up to £125,000 per project to support the development of the bids.

That outlay will be refunded to the council if the bids are not successful.

Bury has been designated within the highest priority category for the funding.

Council leader, Eamonn O’Brien, said: “On an initial review, proposals for Radcliffe Hub and Bury Flexi Hall are well aligned with the funding criteria.

“The fund is primarily for capital infrastructure, regeneration and town centre investment and cultural investment.

“A maximum of £20m funding is available per bid and bids should be made up of coherent projects that are clearly aligned.”

The council said the Bury ‘flexi-hall’ bid will support the expansion of the centre through additional shopping floorspace, non-food retail warehousing and speciality shopping.

The council said it already had well established plans for regeneration of Radcliffe and the need for improvements there remained clear.

For Radcliffe, a programme management office was approved by cabinet in September 2020.

That office will have the lead role in developing business cases and creating investment fund propositions for the Radcliffe bid.

The report added: “In order to access these funds, the council will be required to submit comprehensive and robust bids that are able to demonstrate credible development proposals.

“Critically, the council will need to show that it has the ability to deliver the development proposals within specific timeframes and, this will include demonstrating that it has control over land assets.”

In March, the council begun talks to buy the shopping precinct in the heart of Radcliffe town centre to create a ‘civic hub’ there.

Negotiations are continuing between the authority and the owners of the 1960s built centre, London and Associated (L&A) along with two other landlords in the town centre.

The hub would include ‘corporate council services, leisure facilities, high quality retail, food and beverage outlets, community events space and private office space’.