SUGGESTIONS for projects which will benefit the county's infrastructure are being welcomed as Dorset Council bids for funding from central government.

Dorset Council is encouraging residents to submit suggestions for projects which can be proposed to central government as part of the national Levelling Up fund, which was announced as part of the Chancellor's budget in March and is a competitive fund for which areas across the UK can submit bids. Each area can submit a bid of up to £20m in total.

The fund is for projects which will provide infrastructure that improves everyday life. These include small transport projects, town centre and high street regeneration, and support for maintaining and expanding the UK's portfolio of cultural and heritage assets.

The government has put each county into a list in order of priority which is based on a county's need for economic recovery and growth, need for improved transport connectivity, and need for regeneration. Dorset has been placed in the lowest priority group. The government has advised that preference will be given to bids from higher priority areas, however, lower priority areas are still able to submit bids.

Councillor Tony Ferrari, Dorset Council's portfolio holder for economic growth, assets and property, with special responsibility for regeneration and development in Weymouth, believes that Weymouth and Portland have been negatively impacted by being grouped with the rest of the county.

Dorset Echo: Councillor Tony Ferrari Picture: Dorset CouncilCouncillor Tony Ferrari Picture: Dorset Council

Cllr Ferrari said: "I believe that if the Portland and Weymouth areas were considered in isolation, they would be in a higher category in the government's priorities and would therefore be more likely to secure funding. It is for this reason that I think we should make a big for this area and explain the exceptional circumstances.

"We must be realistic about our chances of securing funding but, if we don't try, we definitely won't get anything.

"All of the suggestions will be considered and kept. We will submit those that we think have the best chance of success. The rest will be retained for possible future bidding opportunities to government."

Residents are asked to submit their proposals for local projects which could be included in the funding bid by emailing by May 7.