What happened to Bassetlaw District Council's £20million Levelling-Up Fund bid? Council says it was submitted while Government says it was not submitted on time

Questions have been raised about Bassetlaw District Council’s £20million bid for funding to regenerate Worksop town centre after the Government revealed a bid was not received on time.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 5:38 pm

The local authority failed to secure a Levelling-Up Fund bid in the first round of funding in November despite being placed by the Government into category one as a priority for investment.

After missing out on funding, council leader, councillor Simon Greaves, expressed his disappointment saying that the bid was submitted with the right people and departments and that the council were wanting further detail from the Government about why funding was not awarded.

Bassetlaw District Council submitted the unsuccessful £20m bid to the Government earlier this year to redevelop Worksop town centre.

It has now been revealed that council bosses may have failed to submit the application for the bid on time.

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It comes after Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith wrote a question to the department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities, asking if a bid was submitted by the council on time and with the correct documentation provided.

Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities, Neil O’Brien, confirmed that the department “did not receive a Levelling Up Fund application from Bassetlaw District Council by the application deadline.”

In response, Mr Clarke-Smith said: “I am shocked, disappointed and outraged for the people of Worksop after discovering that the Government did not receive a Levelling-Up Fund bid from Bassetlaw District Council.

“We now know that the real reason for not receiving funding is that a bid was not submitted.”

However the council’s interim chief executive, David Armiger, said the council received an emailed receipt from DLUHC acknowledging that the application had been received on June 18.

He said: “It was only when the Government announced the successful recipients of the Levelling-Up Fund that we learned that our bid had not been processed.

“We have since spoken to officials within the DLUHC and while it is very disappointing not to have been considered in this first round of funding, we are now working with the department to gain feedback on our original bid to ensure that our submission is even more robust for the next round of funding in the spring.

“Of course, we welcome the MP’s support on this and look forward to him championing our cause within Parliament and with the Government.”

Counc Greaves said: "Bassetlaw submitted its Levelling-Up bid on time, in line with the Government's requirements and Bassetlaw received an acknowledgement that that bid was successfully submitted.

"Bassettlaw met with officials from the department in advance of submission and subsequent and to now claim that it was never received in the first place, I think is beyond fantasy.

“It is absolutely essential for Bassetlaw to have a successful Levelling-Up bid, that's what everyone wants, and further investment into our town centre in Worksop is absolutely essential.”

The council will be able to apply for the second round of the Levelling-Up Fund in the spring.

The DLUHC has offered to review that application when it is received and will provide appropriate feedback to secure the funding.