Conservative and Labour councillors clash over failed Levelling Up bid for Gedling borough

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Labour and Conservative councillors on Gedling Borough Council clashed last night over a motion which calls on local MPs and the Government to secure urgent funding for infrastructure improvements.

Councillor Michael Payne (Labour) raised the motion at last night’s Full Council meeting (November 17) – which was seconded by leader Councillor John Clarke.

The motion calls for Conservative MPs Tom Randall and Mark Spencer to ensure ‘Gedling borough urgently receives its fair share of capital investment for local infrastructure improvements and regeneration.’ after being overlooked for theTowns Fund, Future High Streets Fund and Levelling Up Fund.

Gedling Borough Council earlier this year submitted a bid for around £20m of investment from the ‘Levelling Up Fund’ to help kickstart high street regeneration, improve Arnold town centre and encourage healthy travel in Netherfield.

But it was revealed during the recent 2021 Spending Review announcement that the authority missed out on selection for funding.

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Councillor Michael Payne, who raised the motion, was first to address the council last night.

PICTURED: Councillor Murray addresses the Fll Council at last night’s meeting

He said: “What I care about is our residents and our towns just getting a fair crack of the whip.

“I am not asking to be front of the queue [for funding] but I am saying stop putting our residents and taxpayers at the back of the queue because they can see they are having the wool pulled over their eyes and they don’t like it.”

Councillor John Clarke (Labour) seconded the motion and said: “I was very disappointed as we didn’t get a penny out of it.

“The North of England, including major cities like Leeds and Newcastle, have received less than Devon, which is one of the less populated counties in the country and that can’t be right. Something’s got to even up somewhere with this

“I’m very, very disappointed in our MPs. They need to get off their backsides and start really getting in there as other people are getting in there and walking away with our slice of the cake.”

Councillor Simon Murray, Conservative, defended the Government and listed local schemes which had already received funding from Whitehall, including the Arnold Market redevelopment and works at Carlton Square – with the promise of ‘more to come’.

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He said the Conservative group on the council were ‘disappointed’ by the lack of funding

“We must now turn to the meat of this motion: what is the reason this bid failed?” He said.

“We must face the fact there cannot be prizes for all and Gedling Borough Council’s bid for phase one Levelling Up funding was a failure. What is the reason for this?”

He announced that a second round for bids would begin in Spring 2022.

“It’s imperative that this council now takes steps to learn lessons from this recent experience so as to avoid further failure,” he said.

“Some points are immediately obvious: there seems to have been a failure to take stock of the previous failed bids for the Town Fund, the Future High Streets Fund and to consider the reasons for those recent failures

“The simply reality is that the recent Levelling Up fund bid was not good enough; it did not cut the mustard. This council did have a fair crack of the whip. We need to understand why that is, so these errors are not repeated.

“The deputy leader would have you believe that this [failure] was because Gedling Borough Council is not Conservative controlled and this is simply not the case. This was a fair bidding process in which there were winners and losers of all political hues. Strong bids met with success.

“We need to find out the reasons for this failure and in time make preparations for the second round

“The Conservative group and MPs stand ready to help with that bid.”

Councillor Murray said the Conservative group would be abstaining from voting on the motion which he said was ‘intentionally political’ and ‘asks for the unachievable’ from MPs in securing urgent funding to show they were ‘backing the borough’.

“The two MPs can achieve no such thing,” said Councillor Murray.

“Mr Spencer and Mr Randall have no need to demonstrate their desire to back the borough’s communities accordingly – and for that reason the Conservatives will be abstaining.”

Councillor Payne was angered by Councillor Murray’s response.

“It’s a shame you are finding the nearest fence to sit on tonight,” he said.

“When it came to the crux of standing up for the residents in Gedling borough and arguing to make sure they got a fair crack of the whip and a pound and penny of the money they’ve paid in to the exchequer, you went and found the nearest fence and sat on it – shame on you.”

The motion was carried.

2 COMMENTS

  1. nothing changes lost count of the number times with a labour mp in gedling that the conservatives in power at westminster gave nothing to the borough,but lo behold mr randall con mp gets money for new schools plus capacity increased.this was met by a flat refusal on all counts when the mp for gedling represented the labour so right on all counts coun payne.

  2. When will actual Gedling get renovated? Gedling looks a mess yet more money being spent in Arnold & Netherfield!!! Gedling still looks like it did in the 70’s – time to sort Gedling pit estate out please!

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