Gedling MP Tom Randall to meet Government as £20m Levelling Up bid fails again

By Joe Locker and Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporters

Gedling’s Conservative MP Tom Randall will have an urgent meeting with the Government after the Labour-run council’s £20m bid to transform Arnold town centre failed.

Deputy leader of Gedling Borough Council, Cllr Michael Payne (Lab), called the Government’s decision to turn down the plan “disgraceful”.

The council had hoped to transform the leisure centre and Bonington Theatre in Arnold, and use the money for a new library alongside improvements to Front Street.

An initial bid during the first round failed, as was the case upon the announcement of the successful second round bids on January 18.

Feedback on the first round bid said it was “disparate and insufficiently compelling”, according to Gedling’s MP Mr Randall.

Following the announcement Mr Randall spoke in the Commons on January 19, where he called for an urgent meeting to go through why the bid failed again “chapter and verse”.

Levelling Up minister of state, Lucy Frazer, said she would be “very happy” to do so.

Mr Randall told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Gedling‘s Levelling-Up Fund bid was devised by, written by, and submitted by Labour-run Gedling Borough Council.

“I’m naturally disappointed that the bid has not been successful.

“When I became Member of Parliament for Gedling, I secured meetings with ministers and Whitehall civil servants to try to get a better understanding of why bids made by Gedling Borough Council before I became an MP had failed.

“I will continue to take a constructive approach, to learn lessons, and to try to help Gedling Borough Council get into a position where it is making successful bids. I hope that the council takes the same constructive approach.

“Gedling has been unsuccessful across a number of funding pots over a period of time under different Prime Ministers, different Secretaries of State and different Members of Parliament for Gedling.

“The only constant is the political leadership of Gedling Borough Council.”

Gedling Borough Council has also missed out on both the Future High Streets funding and the Towns Fund.

The news comes not long after Government statistics revealed Gedling is amongst the five worst-affected nationally for reductions in the council’s ability to fund key services.

During a Nottinghamshire County Council Full Council meeting on January 19, Cllr Payne (Lab) said: “Three years on from when this Government was elected, and £8.2bn has been dished out in the Towns Fund, the Future High Streets Fund and in the Levelling Up Fund, every single local authority area within our county and city has received funding from those funds, except one – Gedling.

“I could shout from the rooftop about how disgraceful it is, how people in Gedling and residents feel shafted by it, being left out of decisions by Government.”

In the same meeting Cllr John Clarke (Lab), the leader of the borough council, added: “It is continuous and there’s a pattern, it’s a bugbear on the people of Gedling.

“We’ve had a new road built with the help of the county council and we’ve got all those kinds of things, but it stings this time and it’s grossly unfair now.”

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