Nottingham Labour is disappointed that Nottingham City Council has not been successful in three bids for funding from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. These bids were for:
- The £20m Broad Marsh bid to prepare the frame of the derelict shopping centre to be retained and reimagined as a unique space for play, performance and food.
- The £20m Bulwell town centre bid was to create a Bulwell Promenade with enhancements of green space and public realm alongside the River Leen. It also included improvements to the marketplace and the restoration of heritage buildings and easier access and better connectivity between Bulwell Bogs, the tram stop, bus station, the market place and high streets.
- The £17m Island Quarter bid, submitted on behalf of developers Conygar, focused on renovating three heritage warehouse buildings at the heart of the 36-acre site near to Nottingham Station as well as improving access for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle users with an upgraded junction connecting the site to the Sneinton community.
All three bids put forward a strong case for national funding to help regenerate areas of the city in a way that was progressive, clean, green and sustainable. Nottingham City Council officers worked hard on putting forward these bids, which clearly fell under the scope of the Levelling Up Fund.
The Levelling Up Fund is about making the country more equal, giving increased amounts of funding to areas that have been overlooked or not received their fair share in the past. Cities like Nottingham should be the prime targets for the fund. Under the current Government, this is not the case.
The rejection of all three bids does not make any clear economic sense. Cities are the drivers of the economy, they draw in people from suburbs and towns to work, to study and to relax. The Broadmarsh and Island Quarter bids would have created jobs, built new homes and revived the city centre. Not only that, but they would have helped the transformation of one of the entrances to the city, into a green and welcoming area, an area that would be modern and innovative. The Bulwell bid would have helped regenerate one of the more economically-deprived areas of the city, enhancing and improving the marketplace and area alongside the River Leen.
Nottingham needed this funding, but instead it went to places like Rutland, somewhere that would be difficult to describe as deprived or needing more money for improvements. Indeed, it seems as though economic sense was not the key driver of the decisions around which bids were successful. When looking at the areas that received funding, more often than not the local MP is Conservative. This is one more example of the Government making decisions based on political benefit instead of what will benefit people who need help the most. The most damning evidence of this is that of the 80 successful bids in England only half are in the 100 most deprived parts of the country.
This is made even more obvious by the fact that Prime Minister Sunak’s own constituency of Richmond in Yorkshire had a £19 million successful bid, while the nearby city of Leeds was unsuccessful.
It is clear then that the decisions for funding were political decisions. Despite this disappointment, work will still be able to start on the Green Heart, and the first phase will be completed. The new Central Library will be completed this year, improvements are currently ongoing to Bulwell Bus Station and Conyger is continuing work on the Island Quarter.
Nottingham Labour will continue to work and push for improvements and funding for Nottingham City. More Levelling Up funding will become available and bids will be submitted. Nottingham Labour is committed to seeking all available funding to help Nottingham residents and to help improve and grow our city.