A leading Gedling borough councillor and the borough’s MP have aired their disappointment after the area was left out in the Government’s ‘Levelling Up Fund’ announcement.
Gedling Borough Council had submitted the bid to Government to fund projects in Arnold, Netherfield and to support the borough’s leisure facilities.
Had it been successful, the council would have received as much as £20 million to invest in Netherfield’s connectivity, repurposing Gedling’s vacant and underused shops, and invested into a leisure and culture hub in Arnold.
But the council was hit with a hammer blow during Rishi Sunak’s Budget on Wednesday (October 27) when it was left out of the £1.7 billion pot
It comes after the council also missed out on both the Future High Streets funding and the Towns Fund which, when put with the Levelling Up fund, could have seen tens of millions pumped into the borough.
Councillor Michael Payne (Lab), deputy leader of the council, described it as a “triple whammy” for Gedling.
“It’s just disgusting and absolutely shocking,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“If [the Government] is going to be serious about levelling up, then all we’re really asking for in Gedling is to be treated fairly, for a fair crack at the whip. ‘
“We’ve got communities in other parts of the country where money has been shovelled at them, and Gedling has been overlooked again.
“I think there are serious questions here about Gedling’s MP Tom Randall.
“In the last two years he hasn’t spoken up on the Towns Fund or the Future High Streets fund, now on the Levelling Up fund, and we’ve been overlooked on all three.”
Tom Randall MP (Con), who was elected in December 2019 after unseating Labour’s Vernon Coaker, now Lord Coaker, called on the Prime Minister to back Gedling’s bid when speaking in parliament in July.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he’s planning a meeting with ministers to find out why the bid was unsuccessful, and whether it means Gedling can re-apply for future rounds of the fund.
“I’m waiting for the detail at the moment but we’ve not been successful this time,” he added.
“It’s obviously disappointing from my perspective. The previous funding rounds were decided before I was an MP.
“I’ve had meetings with ministers and the council to understand why previous funding bids were unsuccessful, and to help the council with its bids.
“When this bid was put together I tried to do my bit to champion it, I even raised it in the Commons, and I’m naturally disappointed it hasn’t been successful this time.”
Councillor Payne called out Mr Randall over Twitter asking for a response following the budget announcement.
Payne posted: “It’s time for Tom Randall MP to start being Gedling’s voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s apologist in Gedling.
“Speak up Tom. Gedling at the back of the queue yet again as a result of your silence!”