AN MP and two Bingley District Councillors are urging Bradford Council to commit to producing and submitting a comprehensive bid for Bingley as soon as possible to take advantage of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund– amid fears a delay could see the area miss out.
Government has prioritised Bradford as an area needing investment, but councils must submit bids on how cash would be spent before money is awarded.
Shipley MP Philip Davies, along with Bingley ward councillors Geoff Winnard and David Heseltine want the town prioritised as part of the bid, believing it too often misses out.
Mr Davies said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Bingley to get the investment it desperately needs which is why it is so frustrating to see that Bradford Council seem to be dragging their feet on confirming it will be putting a bid together for Bingley for this fund. The Council has missed the deadline for the first round of bidding and for some reason seems to be reluctant for Bingley to be the focus of this bid for the next round.
“I am therefore calling on Bradford Council to commit to submitting a comprehensive bid for Bingley, to include investment in the swimming pool and town centre which will take advantage of this huge level of welcome investment provided by the Conservative Government.”
Mr Davies wants a proposal to be worked up as soon as possible to ensure it is ready to submit as soon as new bids are invited. He fears the Council is dragging its feet to the detriment of his constituents in Bingley.
The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will be spent across the country for town centre and high street regeneration, along with local transport projects and cultural and heritage assets. Areas have been given a priority ranking by Government based on need, with Bradford ranked as one – the highest priority, meaning Government want to plough money into the area.
Cllr Winnard said: “The Conservative Government’s Levelling Up Fund could provide scope to bring much needed investment into the infrastructure of Bingley’s town centre. Investment in modernising the long neglected Bingley pool site by creating a new swimming, sports, and wellbeing complex would support regeneration of the town centre, help promote health and fitness and encourage more visitors to our fantastic town.
“Over many years Bingley has been largely ignored by Bradford Council, who are still intent on closing our swimming pool. Following the economic and social damage caused by the pandemic, new investment in the swimming pool site would be a great boost to Bingley’s economic recovery.”
Cllr Heseltine said: “There is Government money available and Bradford Council should be proactive in getting their hands on it. Bingley needs and deserves decent facilities, we are, after all, a Principal town. In my view an investment in health, wellbeing and prosperity is much needed, I would hope residents and businesses would agree. A full refurbishment of our pool and gym along with an extension to house more health and wellbeing facilities would be welcome.”
Other ideas put forward by Cllr Heseltine include upgrading Myrtle Park with running tracks, outdoor gym equipment, play facilities for youngsters and relaxation areas.
He added: “On the prosperity front, a permanent cover over the market square to make it more user friendly both in baking hot and wild wet weather. It would also encourage local businesses to use the square and allow our local arts and culture groups to do outdoor performances and activities.”