Deputy leader of Bassetlaw District Council writes to Government over why £20m Levelling Up bid was not reviewed despite being sent "on time and ahead of deadline"
Bassetlaw District Council’s deputy leader has written to a Government minister over the local authority’s failed £20million Levelling Up bid.
Councillor Jo White, has written to the minister for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Neil O’Brien, to ask why the local authority's bid for funding was not considered despite it being sent “on time and ahead” of the deadline.
The council failed to secure any money in the first round of funding in November despite being placed by the Government into category one as a priority for investment.
The funding was to be used for Worksop town centre improvements.
Questions have been raised about the timing of the bid after Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith asked the DLUHC if it was submitted on time and with the correct documentation provided.
Mr O’Brien confirmed in his response to Mr Clarke-Smith that the department “did not receive a Levelling Up Fund application from Bassetlaw District Council by the application deadline.”
This afternoon Mr Clarke-Smith raised the issue in Prime Ministers Questions saying the council “missed the deadline” and asked Boris Johnson what support there is for areas to ensure their bids are successful.
Mr Johnson replied that a second round of bidding would be open in the spring.
In her letter coun White outlined the council’s approach to submitting the bid, along with the technical difficulties officers experiences when submitting it and the subsequent correspondence for Government departments that were aware a bid had been sent.
She stresses that a bid was submitted before the deadline but a receipt was only received after follow-up emails were sent by council officials requesting confirmation.
In a statement explaining the letter, coun White said: “Despite claims that have been made by the Bassetlaw MP, we are confident that Bassetlaw District Council submitted its Levelling Up Fund bid to the DLUHC on time and ahead of their deadline.
“To establish the full facts of this matter, to seek answers and to highlight a number of concerns that we have with our experience of this process, I have written to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Neil O’Brien MP.
“Within this letter I have set out our approach to submitting the bid, along with the technical difficulties we experienced when making our submission, and the subsequent correspondence we have had from a number of Government departments.
“Since submitting our bid, and since learning that we were not considered as part of this first round of funding, we have received electronic confirmation that the emails used to submit our bid were received and acknowledged.
"We have also since held conversations with the Government’s Cities and Growth Unit that confirms they were aware of our bid and our submission.
“We look forward to a response from Mr O’Brien which sets out the facts of the matter and explains to Bassetlaw residents why our submission was not reviewed as part of this round of funding.
“While it is extremely disappointing not to have been considered on this occasion, we are now working with the DLUHC 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.
“Our primary objective is to bring positive change to Worksop and we welcome the MP’s support on this and look forward to him championing our cause within Parliament and with the Government.”