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Michael Gove: ‘Third bid for Broad Marsh redevelopment cash worth doing’

Nottingham City Council would “absolutely not” be wasting its time by lodging a third bid to redevelop the city’s Broad Marsh centre site, Government minister Michael Gove has insisted.

The authority has been unsuccessful with two previous applications to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The council has twice asked for £20m to bring the derelict site back into use after the collapse of shopping giant intu left a half-demolished structure falling into ruin.

On Thursday (May 18) Mr Gove, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary said he aimed “to make sure every local authority has a fair shake of the sauce bottle”.

intu had initially planned to demolish and rebuild the shopping centre as part of a major redevelopment in the south side of the city.

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The investment coupled with the city council’s own redevelopment of the bus station site, which opened last summer alongside a new car park.

However, the collapse of intu left the city council in charge of the land at a time when its finances were already under significant strain due to other issues.

This included the collapse of the in-house firm Robin Hood Energy, which is understood to have cost city taxpayers £38m.

The authority also discovered millions of pounds had been misspent from its housing revenue account which, with inflation, is estimated at a total cost of £51m.

A report revealed the collapse of Intu also cost the council at least £9m having already invested £17m into the project before the shopping giant went bust.

The authority was left with a half-demolished structure which it has begun flattening and asked the Government for £20m twice so the site could be redeveloped fully.

The first bid was rejected in October 2021, leading to an entirely new vision being drawn up for the site to strengthen the case for the cash.

This included using parts of the old structure and integrating it with sweeping green spaces.

The site would be divided into zones with the potential to create 750 homes, an art hotel and 400,000 sq ft of business space capable of creating up to 6,000 jobs.

However, the second bid was rejected by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in January this year.

Now Michael Gove MP, the department’s secretary of state, has confirmed he is supporting the authority – alongside all other unsuccessful councils – to take part in a third round of bids.

Speaking as he visited Mansfield, where a £20m bid to regenerate the derelict Beales department store was approved in January, Mr Gove said:

“We had five times as many bids as we had money to fund and, of course, some people unfortunately lost out,” he said.

“But we’re working with all councils – including in Nottingham – that didn’t succeed in the first two rounds because there is a third round coming up in Levelling Up funding.

“We want to make sure every local authority has a fair shake of the sauce bottle.”

When asked if the ongoing financial issues at Nottingham City Council mean the authority is wasting its time in drawing up the third bid, Mr Gove added: “No, absolutely not.”

He also said: “Even if there are historic weaknesses in the leadership of Nottingham City Council, we still want to make sure the people of Nottingham get the investment and the support they deserve.”

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