Frustration from leaders as Bassetlaw fails to secure £20 million levelling up fund bid for town centre improvements

Worksop has missed out on millions of pounds after the town was left out of the Government’s ‘levelling-up fund’.

Saturday, 6th November 2021, 8:46 am

Bassetlaw District Council had submitted a £20 million bid to help kickstart improvement projects in the town centre.

But it was left out of the 109 successful bids from the Levelling Up Fund announced by the Chancellor of Exchequer in the Budget last week.

Worksop was listed by Government as a priority for ‘levelling up’ and was placed into category one for its needs.

Bassetlaw District Council submitted the unsuccessful £20m bid to the Government in August to redevelop Worksop town centre.

Category one areas are those with the highest identified need for support in areas like transport, economic recovery and growth.

The money was planned on improving traffic flow around Victoria Square and making it more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, removing surplus retail space to create more leisure and public spaces, and opening up the area around the Chesterfield Canal.

Bassetlaw District Council leader Simon Greaves said: “I’m beyond disappointed, I’m furious.

“The fact is, Bassetlaw was in the top priority area for ‘levelling up’, category one, and was one of the areas meant to be first in line for funding.

Bassetlaw District Council leader Simon Greaves.

“Our bid was submitted, working with the right people and departments, and there’s no sign of any money whatsoever.

“Our bid focused on regeneration of Worksop town centre, something that’s very important to us in Bassetlaw, and we’re still wanting further detail from the Government about why we were not awarded funding.

“It was a £20m bid, and from what I can see, this was not a Budget that levels up Bassetlaw.”

He added that the council will be applying for the second round of the Levelling Up Fund next spring, with the authority to have conversations about whether its bid will be tweaked.

MP for Bassetlaw, Brendan Clarke-Smith, said: “I am disappointed that Bassetlaw District Council was unsuccessful in its bid for levelling up funding for Worksop town centre.

“I will be contacting the department for levelling up, housing and communities for an urgent meeting to discuss the reasons behind their decision and how we can work to secure any future funding.”

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A spokesman from Bassetlaw District Council said: “We are disappointed not to have been awarded Levelling Up funding, especially as we are recognised as a top priority area for “Levelling Up” by Government.

“We understand that there will be a second round of bidding next year and we want to work with Government and Ministers to secure funding and get the best possible outcomes for Worksop.”