Earlier this month I attended a meeting in which we discussed how much building work will start soon in our area. This led me to think about just how much we are delivering in the Workington constituency alongside a Conservative council.
With social media and 24-hour news, it’s easy to get carried away with the political story of the day, but I want to celebrate and focus on the progress that has been made since I was elected as your Member of Parliament as we work together to deliver Our Plan. There are many projects ongoing in our towns, communities and villages – far too many to mention here. I want to outline the large projects bringing huge investment into our area. Here is a recap of the big-ticket projects that in the pipeline for our constituency.
The Future High Street Fund and Heritage Fund will invest £14m into Maryport. A new swimming pool at the Wave Centre, a new museum and gallery at Christ Church and a new theatre and workspace at the Carlton. In addition, there will be a new event, food and drink spaces, a shopfront scheme and new residential and public realm improvements.
Workington has been awarded £23m through the Town Deal investment. This will provide £5.4m for new community stadium, a new community pitch and new sports facilities at Moorclose. It will also provide £1.5m for a Digital Skills Accelerator, £4.8m to open up Oldside and the Port. This investment will also support a new Green Energy and Logistics Hub, a new Innovation Centre at Central Way, and an Entrepreneurship Scheme alongside improvements to the townscape.
Already completed thanks to advanced investment of £750k from the Town Deal accelerated funding, a public big-screen TV has been installed, and a new cycle track created. This tranche of funding also funded work: to improve the entrance at Opera Bingo; to make improvements to the Central Way underpass; and to demolish the Opera House.
Improved infrastructure within Cumberland is key to our success locally, and work is starting to fix our roads. There is an investment of £5.5m from the Getting Britain Building Fund for road improvements to the A595 at Bothel. There is investment from New Port Infrastructure Funding for a new building at Workington Port. Lillyhall North is being unlocked and work is starting on some really exciting developments.
It is not just the Government that is investing in my constituency. The private sector is too. A number of businesses involved in the nuclear supply chain are interested in our towns, bringing with them the potential for fantastic job opportunities within my constituency. With a renewed interest, support and investment in nuclear, including SMRs, there are real opportunities that we must grasp with both hands. Investment from other sectors - manufacturing, industry and engineering is also visible, with a number of businesses seeking expansion and investing in skilling up their workforce, providing more sustainable employment in my constituency.
Perhaps most topical over the past few months, in Cumberland, has been the delivery of Local Government Reform. After 20 years of failure, streamlining councils for residents and council taxpayers is a huge step forward. This will reduce 167 Borough and County Councillors to just 46 – creating single point of contact and delivering democratic accountability for every constituent. It is clear that a huge amount of progress has been made in delivering investment, new facilities and infrastructure into my constituency and I want to see that progress continuing with the new Cumberland Council.
I will continue to push for improvements, investments and progress locally and I hope that the new Cumberland Unitary Council will be committed as I am to improving our towns and investing in our shared future.