Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Nottingham identified as needing more support from Levelling Up fund

Nottingham has been given £125,000 to help pay for future bids to the Government’s Levelling Up fund.

The city has been put in the top category by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, meaning the Government has identified Nottingham is in need of more support.

Nottingham City Council says the money, awarded by the department, will help pay for consultants and expertise to draw up future bids to the £4.8 billion fund.

The fund was launched in 2020 with the aim of boosting economic growth in areas outside of London and the south east.

While Nottingham City Council was successful in securing funds in its first round bid, it failed with all three of its bids in the second round earlier this year when £2.1 billion was made available.

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It had been hoping to land £17m for the Island Quarter, £20m for Bulwell town centre and £20m for the Broad Marsh, and the “exceptionally disappointing” news prompted claims the money had been unfairly handed out to areas in the south-east and those under the control of Conservative administrations.

A City Council delegated decision document says: “The Levelling Up fund identified Nottingham as a ‘Category 1′ area.

“This category is for local authority areas that are more disadvantaged compared to others based on indices of deprivation.

“All lead authorities in this category are given £125,000 capacity funding to enable them to build high quality bids for future rounds of the Levelling Up fund expected from 2023 onwards.”

Unsuccessful bids for the Bulwell and Broad Marsh plans, submitted in the second round, cost the council £250,000.

The council had hoped to secure the money to transform the former shopping centre’s frame, with work on the Green Heart area and Central Library currently taking place.

Only a fifth of all bids were successful in the last round, prompting some leaders, including the West Midlands’ Conservative mayor, Andy Street, to criticise the “begging bowl culture” surrounding central government funding.

A third round of Levelling Up funding will be up for grabs, the Government has confirmed, although the total available is expected to be less than previous rounds.

The £125,000 must be used in the 2023/24 financial year, council documents state, cementing the suggestion another bid will be submitted.

However the council is yet to confirm whether it will submit bids for the same projects.

“The capacity funding will be used in financial year 2023/24 to support the city
council’s plans for economic development and levelling up, including identifying and resourcing future bids,” documents add.

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