The next Wendy's Hull restaurant will receive a funding slug towards its £1.2m project. Credit: HCC

Hull pushes on with LUF allocations

Although the “Levelling Up” monicker has been swiftly ditched by the new Labour government, the city council continues to disburse funds to revivify its retail core, with two further grants now committed.

The government confirmed this morning that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has been renamed as the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, removing from official use a term widely associated with Boris Johnson’s post-2019 government.

Conservative governments since have used ‘levelling up’ both in a general sense and specifically in relation to the £4.8bn funding stream opened in 2020 for initiatives in areas including regeneration and transport in disadvantaged or previously neglected areas.

At Prospect Shopping Centre, Roman Adventures has successfully applied to HCC for £158,044 to convert around 7,500 sq ft on the top floor into a space-themed play and education-focused attraction called Little Astronauts.

The applicant is match-funding the cash provided by the council’s LUF grant.

Cllr Paul Drake-Davis, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “There is nothing like this in the area, so for the council to be able to support bringing to the city centre is fantastic and is another great example of the potential which LUF helps to unlock.”

Prospect Shopping Centre was acquired in May for £4.7m by Z&F Properties, which also owns retail assets in Wakefield, Batley and Huddersfield.

The centre’s owner will match-fund the LUF contribution. Credit: HCC

Also benefitting from Hull’s LUF programme, which has been steadily distributing funds from its LUF programme over recent months, is Square Burgers, which has been awarded £200,000.

Trading as Wendy’s fast-food restaurant, the recipient will occupy Unit 1 of the grade two-listed King Albert Chambers on Jameson Street in the city centre.

Hull City Council said the funding will support the introduction of 48 full-time equivalent jobs and will also help to bring back into use 3,766 sq ft of unused floorspace. In the last 12 months, Wendy’s has opened stores at Kingswood and Bilton.

The total project costs are estimated at close to £1.2m.

Cllr Drake-Davis said: “LUF is all about filling empty units in our city centre and creating new jobs, and this is exactly what this latest grant award does.

“Wendy’s has already invested heavily into Hull with its other restaurants and it’s great that this Levelling Up Funding can support it doing likewise in the city centre.”

Other recent LUF projects enabled or supported by LUF backing include the revamp of the former Hammonds of Hull department store, and Wykeland’s renovation of the former M&S on Whitefriargate, itself part of the local developer’s drive to improve the city’s main retail pitch.

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