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Council missed deadline for £16m levelling up bid for Crompton Place development

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Council missed deadline for £16m levelling up bid for Crompton Place development  13238512

Council chiefs have been accused of ‘dropping the ball’ after it emerged it missed the deadline for submitting an £16m 'levelling up' funding bid for the town centre Crompton Place development.

The complexity of the project and ‘technical issues with an IT system’ meant the June 18 cut-off date for submissions to the government came and went without the Crompton Place bid being sent to government.

The revelation has led to the council’s Conservative led administration being deemed ‘incompetent’ and its failure to process the bid in time as ‘disgraceful behaviour’ by opposition politicians.

The council said they had yet to find out whether the late submission ‘had any material impact on the final decision’, which was to reject the application for the funding.

That decision was announced on October 27 as part of the government’s budget plans.

The revelation that the deadline had been missed came at a full council meeting last night by leader Martyn Cox after he was questioned by Labour leader Cllr Nick Peel.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Peel called the late bid a ‘complete shambles’.

He, said: “Cllr Cox has confirmed that Bolton didn’t receive levelling up funding because Bolton’s Tory council didn’t apply for it in time.

“I am shell-shocked, they have potentially lost Bolton £16m due to an error.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful behaviour.

“It was reported in October that the bid had failed.

“Why was this administration not up front with the people of Bolton about the reasons for this?

“Did they know in June that they had missed the deadline and if they did why have they strung us along for months?”

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said the handling of the bid was ‘incompetent’ and that the council had ‘dropped the ball’.

She said: “Bolton’s incompetent Tory administration failed to bid.

“The impact? We missed out on £16m for what is the lifeblood of the town’s redevelopment.

“With the previous plans falling through, this funding would have provided a lifeline

“Many other nearby boroughs, including Bury, were successful in two separate bids to the fund.

“High streets up and down the country are struggling to cope.

“It’s a tough environment for our town centre in particular post pandemic, and we just cannot afford for the council to drop the ball on this.”

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We remain in conversation with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities about the Crompton Place bid, and are awaiting further details.

“The regeneration of Crompton Place is a complex and evolving project, including a number of details which could not be confirmed until close to the submission deadline.

“This, combined with technical issues with the IT system, caused a small delay in formally submitting the final documents.

“We are still in talks with the department about whether or not this had any material impact on the final decision.

“If necessary, we will submit a second bid in the spring.

“Our team was tasked with preparing two bids for the last round of levelling-up funding, including the successful £20m application for the Bolton College of Medical Sciences.”

The £250m redevelopment of Crompton Place, which was granted planning permission last year, would see the current shopping centre demolished, with 46 new retail units and a 110-room hotel created, along with a 300 space car park, offices and more than 150 homes.

The levelling up funding, if successful, would have been used for the demolition and redevelopment of the west side of the building.

The council hoped having this funding source would have made investing more attractive to developers.

In October, the project suffered another blow, when development partners pulled out of the scheme.

The council cited the pandemic and ‘the decline in demand for office space’ as some of the reasons backers pulled-out, and said they were confident that new developers will be confirmed in the future.



Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Bolton Clowncil strikes again!

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