Rochdale MP Sir Tony Lloyd welcomes levelling up bid to save pubs, clubs and historic buildings

Date published: 15 June 2022

Rochdale MP Sir Tony Lloyd has welcomed the news that community groups across the North West bid for levelling up funding to take back control of pubs, music venues, sports facilities, and historic buildings for the benefit of the public.

Groups can bid for a share of the government’s £150 million Community Ownership Fund to rescue cultural buildings in their area that could otherwise be lost forever, as the second round of funding is open.

The first round of funding has already helped local people in the North West transform their communities into a more desirable place to live, work and visit, supporting 39 projects across the UK and five projects in the North West.

This includes projects to create a boxing gym to support vulnerable youths in Oldham, a project to restore the historic Spinners Mill in Leigh and £1 million to secure the purchase of Gigg Lane stadium for the supporters of Bury FC.

Mr Lloyd said: "It's important to ensure that people in Rochdale continue to benefit from local institutions whose future may be in doubt.

"That could be anything from a pub or business that's facing closure, a heritage building that’s in dire need of repair, or a local sports team or community centre who face closure due to lack of facilities.

"It’s vital that communities here in Rochdale benefit from the fund, and I welcome the news that reforms have been made to the application process and expanding the eligibility criteria."

Minister for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution, Neil O’Brien MP said: “Our Community Ownership Fund is helping communities across the North West of England to level up and we want to encourage more local people to bid to save the local assets they love.

“From redeveloping a community boxing gym in Oldham to saving Bury FC’s historic Gigg Lane, we are supporting towns, boosting local pride and helping communities thrive.”

Changes to the fund announced at the end of May, will ensure the fund is more inclusive and flexible, so that more communities can benefit from the transformative fund.

The fund has been updated to widen eligibility criteria, including removing the requirement that assets have had a use within the last 5 years and will now consider any asset which has had a previous community use, massively expanding the projects eligible to apply.

Applicants who have a minimum of a 15-year lease on an asset would now also be considered for funding. Previously, leases were restricted to a minimum of 25 years.

The application window will close in August. There will then be two further application windows before the end of the financial year in April 2023. 

Applicants can submit an expression of interest here.

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