Multi-million pound investment to support a major green overhaul of public transport throughout the North East has been awarded as part of the government’s levelling up fund.

A total of six projects in the region have been allocated more than £100 million from round two of the government’s flagship fund, designed to support the redevelopment of key services and town centres.

A successful bid from the Tees Valley Combined Authority means £17.7 million will be provided to improve connections between some of the region’s most in-demand communities and offer better routes to work including Darlington town centre to Northgate, Yarm Road to Stockton town centre, and Redcar town centre to West Dyke Road.

There is also almost £20 million to modernise public transport across the region with a fleet of 52 electric busses, giving thousands of passengers more greener travel options.  

However, none of the five separate bids Durham County Council submitted to improve town centres and transport connectivity were successful.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Durham County Council leader, said: “We are very disappointed to have not been successful in this round of Levelling Up Funding. 

“A great deal of work went into the proposals and we will be taking some time to carefully consider today’s announcement and explore alternative suitable future funding opportunities.”

A separate Darlington Borough Council bid to add further investment to redevelopment plans in Northgate and the refurbishment of the Head of Steam Railway Museum was also rejected.

The major investment announced today follows the allocation of £1.7 billion to 105 projects from round one of the Levelling Up Fund in 2021.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the new funding will build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives and the places they live.

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, said: “Our transport vision is a vital part of allowing people the access they need to well-paid quality jobs and education – and this money will play a key role in making that vision a reality.”

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Projects in the North East awarded Levelling Up Fund grants include: 

  • £17.7 million funding to deliver over 15km of new, high-quality cycling and walking routes across the Tees Valley, connecting communities to employment, training and education. 
  • £20 million investment in the Newham Grange highway scheme will unlock 800 homes in Middlesbrough, while new pedestrian and cycle tracks will better connect Guisborough town centre to Teesworks and the North York Moors National Park.  
  • £19.5 million of funding will deliver a fleet of 52 electric buses, 26 rapid chargers and 92 electric vehicle chargers across the North East in a huge boost for the region’s zero-carbon economy.  
  • A new Production Village for Hartlepool with over £16 million, providing new jobs and opportunities in the creative industries and boosting the local economy. 
  • £20 million to help build a new arena, world class Exhibition Centre, hotels, bars, restaurants and walkways at Gateshead Quays which will create thousands of jobs and generate over £40 million for the local economy every year. 
  • Almost £15 million to build new, high-quality cycling and pedestrian lanes in Northumberland to give people better, greener routes to work, major transport hubs and tourist attractions. 

Read tomorrow’s Northern Echo for further reaction to the funding announcement.