Bassetlaw District Council £20 million town centre bid from Government's Levelling Up Fund

Bassetlaw District Council chiefs have submitted a £20 million bid to the Government to help transform Worksop town centre.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 9:49 am
Bassetlaw District Council has submitted a bid to the Government for £20m to improve the town centre.

If successful, the money from the Levelling Up Fund will be spent on improving the 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.

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Council leader Simon Greaves said it was time Worksop had the financial assistance from the Government, like other areas had, to bring about ‘positive change’, adding that this was a ‘huge opportunity’ to reshape the town centre.

"It’s time we had our fair share of financial support in order to help bring forward some real transformative change and support the future of the town centre in Worksop,” he said.

"We all know the pressures that have been placed on town centres. The future of Worksop town centre is something that’s important to everyone, especially Bassetlaw District Council.”

He acknowledge the increasing number of empty retail units, but stressed the council did not want to see these turned into more houses of multiple occupancy because of the ‘difficulties’ they and some tenants bring. Instead it wants to remove some of the units and create new public and leisure spaces.

Interim chief executive David Armiger said the local authority was restricted on what it could use the money for because it has to be spent, not earmarked for spending, before the next General Election in 2024.

He said the bid was only part of the local authority’s ambition for the town centre and he wanted to talk to the government about the long-term plans and funding opportunities.

Mr Armiger added: “We want to open dialogue with the Government. We would like to see positive progress and they give us the money, but we want to talk to them about developing this process and our long-term plans.”

He said that improving the traffic flow around Victoria Square was ‘critical’ to making the most of the assets in the town centre and increasing footfall.

A decision on the bid is expected in the autumn.