By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Councillors in Gedling have asked the Government for £50m of Levelling Up funding to redevelop Arnold town centre.
The Labour-run authority says it is one of the most poorly-funded councils in the country and the money would be pumped into a project called ‘Ambition Arnold.’
However the council’s opposition Conservative leader Cllr Michael Adams claims the authority is ignoring investment opportunities in other parts of the borough.
Last week, the council announced the anchor store for the new Arnold Market – set to open later this year – would be the Post Office.
The £4m project, which was initially planned for a spring opening before Covid-related delays, is in the final stages of construction.
If the £50m Levelling Up bid is successful, plans include a new leisure centre and theatre to replace the current Arnold Leisure Centre and Bonington Theatre, which have been operating since the 1980s.
The bid also includes plans for a new library and public space at the northern part of the town centre and improved access from Front Street to High Street.
The council’s previous bid for £20 million in the first round of Levelling Up funding was unsuccessful. It says its second round bid uses feedback it received from the first.
Cllr John Clarke (Lab), leader of the council, said: “As with our previous application, we think this is a strong proposal that will help rebuild our town centre.
“It includes ambitious proposals for a brand-new leisure and culture site at the north part of Arnold town.
“Residents in Arnold have told us that the physical appearance of the area and variety of shops is an issue. This money would be used to improve those areas and create a real buzz in the town centre.
“We have already shown our intentions with the multi-million-pound investments we have made in the new Arnold Market Place and the refurbishment of Carlton town centre,.
“We will continue to do everything we can to improve the borough for our residents and businesses.”
But Cllr Adams (Cons), ward councillor for Trent Valley, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I am happy they are applying again and have put a bid together. However, my own feeling overall is this whole administration always thinks about Arnold.
“There are places like Netherfield, Mapperley, Carlton, Daybrook, Calverton and Colwick that are desperate for investment.
“It is Arnold again and it is always Arnold, and I don’t know why? We should be thinking about the bigger picture… about getting the whole area uplifted rather than just this section.”
The Government’s Levelling Up Fund runs until 2024-2025.