Headlines: August 25th, 2005

Projects from six local authorities will share 130 million pounds of funding which will go towards the cost of library and sport facilities under the Private Finance Initiative. Bristol, Worcestershire, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and Wigan councils now have to drawn up outline business cases to qualify for their share of the money.The six were chosen from projects submitted by 32 local authorities in England that were assessed by experts from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Sport England and the 4Ps – Public, Private Partnerships Programme – to establish their value and sustainability.

The biggest allocation goes to Worcestershire County Council , which has the chance of 33.4 million pounds for an integrated public and university library facility. Leeds City Council has been allocated 30 million for its plan for three multi-sport community hubs and Bristol City Council has been offered just under 30 million pounds for a multi-sport centre linked to a community hospital and a park.

Newcastle City Council will receive a further 13.2 million for a new city centre library. Liverpool City is to get an extra 13.6 million for the redevelopment of its central library and archive and Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council will receive 6.8 million within a package of 64.6 million pounds towards the development of a multi-service centre providing a range of services including library and sports. The schemes in Wigan and Worcester will be jointly funded with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The successful projects were named by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell who said the aim this year had been to support the modernisation of public library services and the creation of multi-sport facilities. She had been particularly impressed, she said, by the vision of the chosen projects, which had been rigorously assessed by experts.

Sports facilities to be developed in Bristol will include a 50 metre pool an 8-court sports hall and a 100-station health and fitness facility. The Leeds project involves the replacement of existing wet and dry sports facilities as well as new multi-sport facilities across the whole metropolitan area. Wigan’s 6.8 million pounds of DCMS credits fall within a package of 64.6 million for a multi-service centre including sport and library provision on the site of the current Town Hall. Worcestershire County Council is to develop a fully integrated public and university library developed jointly with University College Worcester on a site between the new campus and the city centre.