Plans for Levelling Up Fund Round 2 to be discussed

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Cabinet is tonight being asked to approve plans to submit a revised funding bid which would see a major investment into two internationally-important sectors for Torbay.

The bid, to the government’s Levelling Up Fund, is for port infrastructure at Brixham Harbour and grow-on space for electronics and photonics businesses.

If the bid is successful, the proposed expansion of the commercial port could see an annual £5m growth in the value of fish and shellfish landed in Brixham and support 150 new jobs.

The development will provide a significant increase in operational space at the quayside for the siting of an extended fish market facility to take the extra capacity.

It will also include additional quay space for the smaller distribution vehicles operated by the fish merchants, which should help to ease the present congestion.

The council will benefit from increased revenue from additional fish toll income, which should continue to grow over the next five years.

The Levelling Up Fund bid was originally submitted under Round 1 last year but was unsuccessful.

If Cabinet agrees, Council and Harbour bosses will revise proposals following feedback they received from the government and local stakeholders.

Councillor Nicole Amil, Chairman of Tor Bay Harbour Authority, said “Our team have taken on board feedback, and we are working with our partners to ensure we can facilitate

growth whilst driving to support sustainability in the sector and the drive to Net Zero.

“Brixham Harbour is the fish market of choice, and we have a responsibility to support our local businesses. If successful, this project will be an enabler for further marine industry growth, by way of improved fishing techniques and further research into eco fuelling, which is being trialled now.”

They plan to work up an application which will be submitted under Round 2, announced by the government in the Spring Statement.

The bid will also include a complementary electronics and photonics production park to provide grow-on and production space for this key sector.

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “It was very disappointing when we learned last year that we did not get the funding under Round 1 of this scheme.

“However, it has given us an opportunity to revisit our plans and take on board recommendations from the government and local stakeholders.

“We will now develop a revised application which we hope will be successful.

“Securing this funding will help to safeguard the future of Brixham’s internationally-recognised port and fishing sector and bring high-value jobs, growth and prosperity to the area. This is especially important after the challenges of Brexit and COVID-19.”

The expansion would also mean the Tor Bay Harbour Authority will be able to rebuild its reserve fund and address the growing cost of maintaining existing port infrastructure.

The additional space will improve efficiency and safety for the landing of vessels, which will ultimately encourage further landings from sea.

The Levelling Up Fund is a £4.8bn UK-wide fund which will be allocated over four years and is designed to drive growth and regeneration in places that the government has assessed need it most to reduce economic inequality.

The deadline for the application is 6 July.

Alongside the plans for Brixham Harbour, the Cabinet will also discuss the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

This fund enables investment to restore community spaces, support local business, boost core skills and support adults to progress in work.

To secure funding, Torbay Council is required to develop an Investment Plan, setting out how it intends to use and deliver the funding based on local need and opportunities.

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