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Anger at council after ‘missed opportunity’ over levelling up fund for Newry park project

Anger has been aimed at a local council after they missed out on funding from the UK government for Newry’s Albert Basin Park, according to one councillor.

Independent elected representative, Cllr Gavin Malone said that he was ‘disappointed’ that Newry, Mourne and Down District Council didn’t apply for the fund at all.

It comes after the councillor brought forward a motion to a full council meeting in May 2021, asking the council to make the proposed Albert Basin Park ‘their number one priority’ in their levelling up strategy.

However, Cllr Malone now alleges that NMDDC didn’t apply for the funding at all, failing to submit one application.

The £4.8 billion fund from Westminster contributes to regenerating town centre and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.

Hundreds of council’s across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were successful in the first-round of applications this week.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that the local authority intends on applying for the second round of funding from the government.

Cllr Malone said it was “essential” that the council doesn’t miss out on similar opportunities in the future.

He said: “A number of months ago I tabled a notice of motion requesting that our council provide the necessary resources needed to maximise the substantial Levelling Up funding being provided by Whitehall.

“It is with great disappointment that today I read that other council’s availed of this funding programme and guess what our council never submitted one application.

“This Levelling Up Fund was ideal for the people’s park as it targeted urban and city regeneration projects and we have lost a tremendous opportunity to attract much needed finance which could have complimented the other funding application recently submitted.

“I believe we have missed a great opportunity. I will continue to press the council’s Senior Management to ensure they will not miss other funding opportunities in the future.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Scheme contacted Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for a comment but they did not reply at the time of publication.

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