Levelling Up Fund (LUF) Bid Success

Hardisty Jones Associates assisted two local authorities with successful bids with a value of more than £33 million for the Levelling Up Fund Round 2, announced in January 2023.

Insight Author

Isabel Compton


We worked with Torridge District Council to prepare a bid for the Appledore Clean Marine Innovation Centre. This is an exciting project which will enable two universities to establish a presence in northern Devon, undertaking research and innovation activities in the clean marine sector, including floating offshore wind and aquaculture.

We also worked with Dover District Council to help prepare the submission for the Dover Beacon project. This will transform an eyesore town centre site into a new creative campus and business centre; expanding the capacity for higher level skills training across Dover to boost productivity and employment.

For both bids we helped to make the economic case, calculating the social benefits and economic costs, demonstrating the value for money of public investment into these projects.

Lessons Learnt from our Levelling Up Fund Bids

There were 111 successful bids from the 529 submitted and a total of £2.1bn was awarded out of £8.8bn sought. This, in part, reflects the limited funds available, but means that competition is fierce and successful bids need to be of the highest quality.

Bids were scored on strategic fit, deliverability, economic case, and the characteristics of place. Awards were also made to “ensure a fair geographic and thematic distribution of bids”. From an economic perspective, a minimum benefit to cost ratio (BCR) of 1.0 was required for bids to be considered.

In Torridge, we showed how the Appledore project will deliver high quality, high value economic activity and employment, driving up productivity in a less prosperous coastal town. This provides an opportunity for real structural economic change and genuine Levelling Up. Our analysis quantified the economic benefits of new, better paid and higher skilled employment, including opportunities for graduates in northern Devon, local supply chain impacts, and the benefits of spin-out companies being established in the local area.

For Dover we demonstrated how the Beacon project would address key socio-economic challenges and deliver significant long term economic benefit to the area through increased higher-level learning and skills and high quality physical regeneration of a key site.

How to prepare for Levelling Up Fund Round 3

Government has confirmed there will be a Round 3 of the Levelling Up Fund, which will undoubtedly be highly competitive, requiring very strong bids to stand a chance of success.

Learn how to prepare a strong strategic and economic case for Levelling Up Fund Round 3 bids >