New bid for Levelling-Up funding could be transformative for Worksop, says council leader

Councillor Simon Greaves. Credit: Simon Greaves
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Bassetlaw’s council leader says a new bid for £20m of Government cash could be “transformative” for Worksop – less than a year after the Government accused his authority of being too late with a previous funding application.

Cllr Simon Greaves said it would be a “fantastic boost” to see Worksop receive £20m from the Government’s Levelling-Up Fund.

Last Autumn the Secretary of State for Levelling-Up Neil O’Brien, said Bassetlaw District Council missed the deadline with its original Levelling-Up Fund application to his department.

The news was met with outrage by Bassetlaw’s Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith who said it was “highly embarrassing” for the district.

Worksop has been highlighted by the Government as being one of the areas most in need of funding, anywhere in the country.

If the new bid is successful, the Priory Shopping Centre will be redeveloped to include tenpin bowling, an indoor soft play facility, a trampoline park and a café.

A new towpath and moorings will also be created along the Chesterfield Canal, as well as a new bridge linking the north of the town with under-used space being turned into apartments and town houses.

A new multi-function market area and food court will also be created in addition to a new cycle hub, with a café, changing rooms and lockers.

The 2022 submission is a “revised bid” of the last year’s plans.

Simon Greaves, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said the works would “regenerate and revitalise” Worksop town centre.

He added: “This is a transformative bid and if approved this will result in a significant step change for Worksop.

“People have made it very clear that there needs to be a number of changes to the town centre.

“There needs to be more leisure and opportunities that move away from traditional retail.

“People would love bowling and new eateries, everyone is crying out to see greater investment.

“At the moment the canal is really not maximised it’s a great asset. More moorings would be fantastic.”

Speaking of last year’s bid, Cllr Greaves – who steps down in September after a decae as leader of the council, before next year’s elections – told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The bid was submitted on time and the levelling up department claimed it wasn’t received.

“We had an audit trail and when the bid was submitted, the levelling up department met with us to discuss the next stages of the process.

“Only after the budget announcement were we told that no bid was received.

“I do know that the department experienced some significant IT problems.

“It was a massive shame and it was heavily politicised which was disappointing.

“As far as I’m concerned that’s been and gone I’ve now got a bid that’s been acknowledged.

“I’m very much looking towards the future and we have a number of schemes to support the town centre.

“I’ve been council leader for over 10 years and over that time we’ve brought a lot of investment into the area.

“I will be stepping down in September but I think it will be a fantastic boost to see this bid approved and the work begin.”

Brendan Clarke-Smith, Member of Parliament for Bassetlaw said: “I am delighted that we have been able to work together in partnership with other stakeholders, including the District Council, to produce a bid we feel gives us the best chance of securing this extra funding and once again delivering a town centre we can be proud of. “

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