Hopes raised that Alnwick could tap into £350million Borderlands fund
Alnwick is ‘in a good place’ to benefit from a cross-border funding initiative, according to a council officer.
The assessment of the town’s chances of accessing the £350million Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was made by Tim Kirton, projects and funding officer at Alnwick Town Council.
Projects including The Alnwick Garden’s Lilidorei, Berwick Theatre and Conference Centre and Hadrian’s Wall, have already been identified along with a cross-area Borderlands Walking and Cycling Network.
Other funding areas include quality of place, digital, business infrastructure, rural innovation and energy.
“Of particular interest to us, I think, is the place strand,” he told Alnwick Town Council. “Borderlands aims to work with communities to repurpose towns and reinvent their centres and Alnwick Partnership has, of course, been set up to deliver that in our own town so I think we are ahead of the game.”
He attended a recent Borderlands conference and revealed that communities were being encouraged to prepare ‘place plans’ which identify issues and the projects and methods to tackle them.
“The objectives of the place strand align very closely with the neighbourhood plan so the neighbourhood plan is effectively our place plan for Borderlands,” said Mr Kirton. “We don’t need to write a new one.”
A strategy for the future being developed by the Alnwick Partnership could also be incorporated.
He said there could also be opportunities for small scale investment in energy infrastructure and the supply chain.
“It’s potentially exciting for the back end of 2020 and I think we are in a good place to make the most of it,” he said.
However, Mayor Lynda Wearn, who also attended the conference at Slaley Hall, stated: “I found it a rather frustrating conference with more than a little confusion about what they were: a) trying to achieve; and, b) what the process was.”
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal commits the UK and Scottish Governments to a £200million investment on the English side and £150million in Scotland over 10 years.
The Borderlands Partnership area is made up of Northumberland County Council, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council.