Council spent £50k on failed bids for UK Government ‘levelling up’ cash
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Monmouthshire County Council spent £50,000 preparing bids for government levelling-up cash which were unsuccessful.
Figures obtained by the Local Democracy Reporting Service show the local authority spent £31,000 to support an application for improvements in Monmouth and £19,075 on the Caldicot bid.
Monmouthshire council submitted a bid for £14 million to upgrade Caldicot Leisure Centre and revitalise the town centre, with the plans including refurbishment of shops in Newport Road and improvements to Church Road and Newport Road West.
A separate £11 million bid proposed town centre improvements in Monmouth, as well as improving Shire Hall and redeveloping the Market Hall.
Both bids were unsuccessful in the first round of schemes, but the council has said it may bid again in the future.
All authorities submitting bids to the UK Government’s levelling-up fund are entitled to a £125,000 grant to support preparation.
A spokeswoman for Monmouthshire council said: “Monmouthshire County Council officers were assisted by a consultancy company (ARUP) and an individual consultant (Chris Jones) to prepare the LUF (Levelling Up Fund) bids for Monmouth and Caldicot.
“The support received from the Monmouth Levelling Up Fund totalled £31,000 and for Caldicot the Levelling Up Fund totalled £19,075.
“All authorities submitting bids are entitled to the £125,000 grant to support bid preparation.
“Given timescales to prepare the bids and the detail required within the bids the recruitment of external support was considered essential.”
The spokeswoman said that if the council submits a further bid, then the balance of the funding remains available should further support be required.
The Levelling Up Fund is a £4.8 billion UK Government fund towards town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects and cultural and heritage assets.
Ten schemes in Wales were successful in the first round of bids announced in October, which saw a total of £1.7 billion allocated, though none of the projects were in Gwent.
A second round of winners is expected to be announced in the spring.