Disappointment at Blackpool's Levelling Up bid failure

Blackpool must bid for money for projects outside the town centre when it next seeks support from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, it has been proposed.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:51 pm

Conservative councillor Bradley Mitchell put forward the suggestion after the resort’s bid for £20m from the Levelling Up Fund failed.

The council had sought £7m towards the redevelopment of the former Abingdon Street Post Office into a Hotel Indigo and Indigo Suites, £9m for town centre road improvements and £4m to create new convention space within the Olympia area of the Winter Gardens.

Coun Mitchell told a meeting of the full council Blackpool had lost out despite being designated as a tier one priority area for money from the fund.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Hotel Indigo scheme was part of the bid

He said the bids were also measured against factors including deliverability and value for money.

Coun Mitchell said: “It seems to follow then that the reason the bid fell short in securing funding is down to the projects the council put forward being of inadequate quality.

“Thankfully Blackpool should get a second chance to bid for this funding.

“Instead of using this lifeline to put forward further projects for the town centre on top of the tens of millions of pounds of regneration funding that have been spent there already, quality regeneration bids should be prepared for areas outside the town centre that are in desperate need of regeneration and which Blackpool residents are crying out for.”

Members of the ruling Labour group said they were disappointed with the outcome of the funding applications, and would take on board feedback ahead of resubmitting bids next spring.

But council leader Coun Lynn Williams also criticised the process which she said “shouldn’t be a competition.”

She said: “We shouldn’t have these pointless competitions which take up resources. The money should be paid to the places that need it.”

A total of 305 bids were submitted from across the country with 105 approved. A second round of bids is due to open in spring 2022.

* ​​​​​​Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here