EU VOTE: How European funding has shaped our district

In a series on the EU Referendum, we will explore some of the issues behind '˜leave' and '˜remain'. Today, how European funding has boosted our district.

Friday, 3rd June 2016, 6:56 am
The EU and UK flags.

Millions of pounds of European money has been spent on improving the Lancaster district since 2000.

Lancaster City Council has received £9m from the EU since 2000, while £31.5m of £35m in EU funding received by Lancashire County Council since 2008 was used for the benefit of all areas in the county, including the Lancaster district.

City council projects funded by the EU include the Lancaster Business Development Scheme, Morecambe’s Winning Back The West End, the Lancaster & Morecambe Economic Development Zone (EDZ) and Lancaster Square Routes. The Square Routes revamp of Lancaster city centre was arguably the most high profile of those to benefit from EU cash.

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The EU pumped £438,524 into Phase 2 of the work, which included new street surfaces, seating and lighting for the length of Cheapside, Horseshoe Corner, Penny Street and new surfacing for the length of Market Street, as well as improved signs.

The city council said the Lancaster Business Development Scheme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with £100,675, helped encourage business growth in the area resulting in more jobs and help in the form of marketing grants.

Winning Back the West End, which ran until 2009, was a major project in the West End of Morecambe to make the area a friendly, safe and prosperous community in which to live and work.

As part of the project, £493,098 part funded street wardens and helped create the West End Gardens.

Lancaster & Morecambe Economic Development Zone was a programme to create and safeguard jobs by attracting businesses and boosting the local economy.

EU grants and subsidies totalling £7.9m alsom funded CityLab and The Storey Centre for Creative Industries in Lancaster, the Port of Heysham Industrial Estate, Heysham Business Park industrial access and the creation of a network of cycleways and safe walking routes to the district’s main employment areas.

Luneside East housing development on St George’s Quay also received £2.5m.

Lancaster City Council said there are no further EU funded projects in the pipeline at this time. County council cash was distributed throughout the county to places including Lancaster.

There was £11.4m to help deliver superfast broadband and around £10m for business support, including help for small and medium sized enterprises, which created 1,166 jobs and safeguarded a further 294, and grants to help rural businesses grow, which created 290 jobs.

The county council also received £1.6m for a scheme aimed at reducing the number of young people not in education, employment and training.

The council’s marketing arm, Marketing Lancashire, received £149,000 including grants to accommodation providers to improve quality and capacity and for Food Connect, a scheme to raise awareness and linkages in the rural food supply chain.