Doncaster town centre regeneration bid knocked back by Government

The borough’s bid for a slice of Government money to revamp part of the town centre has been knocked back

Friday, 8th January 2021, 12:30 pm

Described as a ‘depressed area’ by council bosses, officers drew up the application for a £21 million bid to redevelop parts of Waterdale, Spring Gardens and potentially St James’ Baths.

The borough’s directly-elected mayor Ros Jones said she was ‘immensely disappointed’ that their bid for part of the Future High Streets Fund has been rejected.

Mayor Jones said Government had told them the scheme was not a substantial return on investment.

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But opposition Tory councillor Nick Allen said the council had not utilised the expertise to create a good enough bid and did not work with Government adequately to secure the funding.

The council’s own analysis shows many retail businesses have suffered from low footfall due to a lack of people working in the town centre.

This has led to many empty units on the periphery which are no longer required for retail use, especially in the Waterdale area.

The application for funds represented 43 per cent of the total cost of around £49 million for the planned works.

Mayor Jones said: “I am immensely disappointed that our Doncaster Council bid to the Future High Streets Fund has been turned down, this would have seen significant investment from both the public and private sector into the Waterdale area of town including St James’ Baths – an area which is in dire need of regeneration.

“Government reasoning for refusal is because of us not making the necessary return on investment.

“Once again governmental formula working against us in Doncaster and the north. Government speaks of levelling up but fails to deliver.

“Come on Boris Johnson, work with us, Doncaster is ready to be levelled up.”

Conservative councillor Nick Allen, said: “This is just the same old Labour playing party politics at a time when we should be working hard for the good of Doncaster.

“If they cared that much they would work with Government to make sure DMBC put the best bids together to have the best chance of securing money.

“We are being set up to fail so local Labour politicians can point the finger and play the blame game with our money. This isn’t politics as normal and constantly bashing Government is not a sensible way to go about business.”

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