‘It’ll put us back 10 years’: Disappointment over failed £25-million levelling up bids for Monmouthshire
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
A councillor has said that his town has been “set back 10 years” after it was announced that bids for £25 million from the UK Government’s Levelling-up Fund in Monmouthshire have been unsuccessful.
Yesterday, Rishi Sunak announced that £121m of funding woud go to 10 specific schemes in Wales as part of the fund. Despite Conservative seats making up six of the successful ten, Monmouthshire missed out on a slice of the £4.8 billion fund.
Nowhere else in Gwent received any money either.
A £14 million bid was made 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.
Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East constituency, said she was “really disappointed” that the Caldicot bid had been “overlooked”.
“This was a positive, cross-party and community-focused bid which would have made a real difference, redeveloping the leisure centre and providing new money for the town centre,” she said.
Ms Morden said she will be seeking discussions with Monmouthshire council about future options.
Caldicot councillor Tony Easson said he was “very disappointed” by the news.
“It’s going to put Caldicot back 10 years,” he said.
“The funding was needed for the leisure centre revamp and for bringing the town centre up to the 21st century.
“There’s a lot of deprivation in my ward and the town needed a lift as well.”
Cllr Easson has submitted an emergency member’s question ahead of a full council meeting next week asking about the impact of the decision on the area’s economy.
A spokesman for Monmouthshire County Council said: “We are very disappointed that the bids were unsuccessful, but we will listen to the feedback and decide how we might now proceed.
“We understand that while our bids were not successful on this occasion we may bid again in the future.
“Based upon this, we will decide on how we might proceed and what alternative funding strategies might be adopted if necessary, but we believe the bids are robust and delivering the projects remains important to these communities and to the council overall.”