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 city centre Crompton Place development.
The complexity of the undertaking and ‘technical issues with an IT system’ meant the June 18 deadline for submissions to the federal government got here and went with out the Crompton Place bid being despatched to authorities.
The revelation has led to the council’s Conservative led administration being deemed ‘incompetent’ and its failure to course of the bid in time as ‘disgraceful behaviour’ by opposition politicians.
The council stated they’d but to seek out out whether or not the late submission ‘had any material impact on the final decision’, which was to reject the applying for the funding.
That resolution was introduced on October 27 as a part of the federal government’s finances plans.
The revelation that the deadline had been missed got here at a full council assembly final evening by chief Martyn Cox after he was questioned by Labour chief Cllr Nick Peel.
Speaking after the assembly Cllr Peel referred to as the late bid a ‘complete shambles’.
He, stated: “Cllr Cox has confirmed that Bolton didn’t obtain levelling up funding as a result of Bolton’s Tory council didn’t apply for it in time.
“I’m shell-shocked, they’ve probably misplaced Bolton £16m as a consequence of an error.
“It’s completely disgraceful behaviour.
“It was reported in October that the bid had failed.
“Why was this administration not up entrance with the individuals of Bolton in regards to the causes 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 stated the dealing with of the bid was ‘incompetent’ and that the council had ‘dropped the ball’.
She stated: “Bolton’s incompetent Tory administration didn’t bid.
“The influence? We missed out on £16m for what’s the lifeblood of the city’s redevelopment.
“With the earlier plans falling by way of, this funding would have offered a lifeline
“Many different close by boroughs, together with Bury, had been profitable in two separate bids to the fund.
“High streets up and down the nation are struggling to manage.
“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 stated: “We stay in dialog with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in regards to the Crompton Place bid, and are awaiting additional particulars.
“The regeneration of Crompton Place is a posh and evolving undertaking, together with a variety of particulars which couldn’t be confirmed till near the submission deadline.
“This, mixed with technical points with the IT system, induced a small delay in formally submitting the ultimate paperwork.
“We are nonetheless in talks with the division about whether or not or not this had any materials influence on the ultimate resolution.
“If mandatory, we are going to submit a second bid within 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 final yr, would see the present buying centre demolished, with 46 new retail models and a 110-room lodge created, together with a 300 area automotive park, places of work and greater than 150 houses.
The levelling up funding, if profitable, would have been used for the demolition and redevelopment of the west facet of the constructing.
The council hoped having this funding supply would have made investing extra enticing to builders.
In October, the undertaking suffered one other blow, when development companions pulled out of the scheme.
The council cited the pandemic and ‘the decline in demand for office space’ as a few of the causes backers pulled-out, and stated they had been assured that new builders can be confirmed sooner or later.