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Councillors anger at latest levelling up snub

Date Posted: 3:53 PM on Tue, 21 November 2023

Gedling Borough Councillors have expressed their anger and disappointment at Gedling communities not being awarded a single penny in the latest round of Levelling Up funding announced by central Government. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities announced a further £1.1 billion as part of its ‘Round 3’ yesterday, but Gedling was not included in the list of 55 new projects, which included a further £19 million for neighbouring Newark and Sherwood District Council, on top of the £65 million they’ve already received of Levelling Up allocations.

In the previous second round, Gedling Borough Council didn’t receive a penny, and the feedback from the Government was that the bid was ambitious but needed more up-to-date data. Following this feedback, the Council has invested in a comprehensive strategic review of its leisure sites, playing pitches, and community centres, as well as purchasing empty business units. Additionally, a new Arnold Town Centre masterplan has been announced, all to support a future Levelling Up bid. Now the Government has allocated funding in round 3 with no consideration of the council’s further work.

The Government announcement follows Councillors approving a motion at Full Council earlier this week to write to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities asking why Gedling Borough Council has not received any Levelling Up funding yet many neighbouring authorities have received millions. The Leader, Councillor John Clarke MBE and Deputy Leader, Councillor Michael Payne are also asking for a fairer funding review, as Gedling is currently the 5th worst-affected councils in the country in terms of the reduction in funding for day-to-day services.

This latest snub for the Council means that its plans for a £50 million investment in Arnold and Carlton will now need to be reviewed. However, the Council says that they are still ambitious about revitalising the town centres and will now look at other options to finance the schemes.

Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke MBE said:

“We are incredibly disappointed and dismayed that the government has not awarded us a single penny for round 3 of the Levelling Up programme and has instead allocated money without new applications. We took the feedback from round 2 on board and have invested in a comprehensive strategic review, purchased empty units on the high street, and announced a new masterplan, all aimed at improving our chances in the next round of bids, yet they have been completely ignored.

“We are sick and tired of this government moving the goalposts and leaving councils like us with absolutely nothing, time and time again. We have done everything they have asked and yet we have not received a single penny of Levelling Up funding.”

Deputy Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor Michael Payne added:

“The Government has now had seven different major ‘Levelling Up’ funds, many of which there has been no chance to properly bid for. Gedling’s communities have not received a single penny from the billions of pounds handed out. There is no excuse from the government for giving Gedling zero whilst giving our neighbours in Ashfield District, Bassetlaw District, Broxtowe Borough, Mansfield District, Newark & Sherwood District and Nottingham City tens of millions of pounds each.”