We will keep trying for green transport cash says council after Whitehall knockback

The proposed West Wight Greenway to connect Yarmouth with Newport for cyclists and walkers has suffered a funding blow. <i>(Image: Pixabay)</i>
The proposed West Wight Greenway to connect Yarmouth with Newport for cyclists and walkers has suffered a funding blow. (Image: Pixabay)

Plans to connect up the West Wight for cyclists and walkers have taken a huge knock as the Isle of Wight bid was rejected in the latest government levelling up fund announcement.

Although the Isle of Wight Council was successful in gaining £6 million for East Cowes regeneration in 2021's Round 1 of Levelling Up funding, this time its £14 million bid for green transport initiatives did not make the cut.

The bid was made up of three parts: the Ryde to Yarmouth public transport corridor, the West Wight Greenway and the Newport hub and spokes scheme.

Now, the council is waiting for feedback from government on why it was unsuccessful.

Isle of Wight County Press: Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, regeneration portfolio holder, and MP Bob Seely (second left) with East Cowes councillors after the announcement of the funding for East Cowes.
Isle of Wight County Press: Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, regeneration portfolio holder, and MP Bob Seely (second left) with East Cowes councillors after the announcement of the funding for East Cowes.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, regeneration portfolio holder, and MP Bob Seely (second left) with East Cowes councillors after the announcement of the funding for East Cowes. (Image: Newsquest)

A third round of levelling up grants is expected in 2024.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, Isle of Wight Council lead on regeneration and levelling up, said: “We were obviously disappointed that our bid was unsuccessful on this occasion, having been successful in the previous round of Levelling Up funding in 2021.

"As we had already received funding, we were limited in round two to making one transport-related bid.

Read more: Find out what levelling up cash means for Victoria Barracks in East Cowes.

“We will continue to actively explore further funding opportunities to bring the Island Green Link forward as a whole or via particular elements from the original proposal’.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: "The council was limited to making a transport-related bid in the 2022 Levelling Up funding round and so the Island Green Link was the only bid that was made as it was the most appropriate priority project for the fund.”

MP Bob Seely also expressed disappointment but said he hoped the council would submit further bids.

Mr Seely said: “We were at the front of the queue for the most important bid for the Island, which was the £6m heavy lift crane for East Cowes shipyard which will help to create dozens of news jobs.

"That was an absolute priority for the Island.

“We weren’t successful in round two but there may be other funds we can apply for to help with that.

“Over the past five years we have secured an additional £120m for the Island which includes the work that is underway to deliver £30.4m worth of improvements to our hospital and community-based services."