Commenting on the results of Levelling Up Fund bids from East Midlands local authorities, East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “The areas that have had their Levelling Up Fund bids approved will hugely welcome these successful outcomes, with the funding available providing a major tonic to some vital projects that will regenerate our towns and cities.
“This backing is crucial to helping these areas, many of which were severely impacted by the pandemic, to recover and grow – creating new opportunities for the people who live, work and study there.
“It is great to see new thinking in how we use old sites no longer in use, including turning the historic Assembly Rooms in Derby and a former Victorian underground reservoir in Sutton-in-Ashfield into innovative educational experiences, while a former department store in Mansfield will be turned into a civic hub and office space.
“A number of schemes also take a wider look at how to revitalise town centres – which play a major role in the economic success of our region – by providing a mix of uses that can attract new people to visit them.
“However, there are some obvious limitations to the success of the Levelling Up Fund. This is the second tranche of funding that Nottingham has missed out on, which is a huge blow given the desperate situation of the former Broadmarsh Centre, which remains in a dilapidated state almost three years after demolition work was halted.
“The Broad Marsh regeneration, along with the nearby Island Quarter development that offers much promise, is key to the future prospects of Nottingham and it is very disappointing the Government has once again turned its back on the city.
“More broadly, this felt like a great opportunity for the Government to prove it is serious about levelling up and yet it has once again feels like it has prioritised certain areas of the country ahead of others where support is more urgently required.
“The latest Treasury figures show the East Midlands continues to receive the lowest levels of public investment of all regions in the UK – spending per head in 2021/22 was £10,528, compared to the UK average of £11,897 – and yet little is being done to rectify this, despite us having plenty of the ‘shovel-ready’ schemes courted by Westminster.
“There will be more opportunities for the Government to demonstrate its commitment to the East Midlands, and a good place to begin would be in investing in crucial digital and physical infrastructure, such as HS2 and the Midland Main Line electrification – something we outline in our Business Manifesto for Growth for the East Midlands, A Centre of Trading Excellence.”
East Midlands successful bids in Levelling Up Fund
|Derby City||Assemble (Learning Theatre)||£20 million towards a new ‘Learning Theatre’ to be built in the heart of Derby’s city centre, allowing the university students to work and perform at the former historic Assembly Rooms.|
|Derbyshire Dales||Ashbourne Reborn||£13.3 million for the Ashbourne Reborn project in the Derbyshire Dales to transform the town centre|
|Ashfield||Science Discovery Centre and Planetarium||In Sutton-In-Ashfield, £3.1 million will help transform a Victorian underground reservoir into a science discovery centre and state-of-the-art planetarium. This will inspire the next generation of astronomers and encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.|
|Bassetlaw||Worksop Town Centre||Almost £18 million to transform Worksop Town Centre, funding will create a new leisure facility with ten pin bowling and soft play. The works will also create a new towpath link along Chesterfield canal|
|Broxtowe||Kimberley Means Business||£16.5 million to make town centre improvements in Kimberley, including transforming the Bennerley Viaduct, creating step-free access to the viaduct and boosting the cycle path network in the region.|
|Mansfield||Mansfield Connect||£20 million will transform the disused Mansfield department store Beales into office space and a civic hub|
|Rutland||Rural Innovation in Place||£22 million for a new outdoor food market and event space in iconic food town, Melton Mowbray and updating of the Rutland County Museum in Rutland to create a digital visitor experience|
To read the Chamber’s Business Manifesto for Growth, A Centre of Trading Excellence, visit www.emc-dnl.co.uk/manifesto.