A BID for levelling-up funding to revamp Caldicot town centre has failed – for the third time.

Earlier this month the UK Government announced £111 million to be shared across seven projects in Wales through its Levelling-Up Fund, but the plans intended to boost Caldicot, in Monmouthshire, have missed out for a third time. 

That has led to the deputy leader of Monmouthshire County Council, who has accused Monmouth MP – Welsh secretary David Davies – of overlooking the town. The leader of the council’s Conservative group said he was also “disappointed” but was critical of the council’s approach. 

It had previously bid for for funding for Caldicot, as well as to restore Monmouth’s Shire Hall, and for improvements to Chepstow’s train station, but had missed out on those plans in the two previous rounds. 

This summer the Labour-led cabinet agreed it should instead put all its efforts into the bid for Caldicot, which also intended to buy out and repurpose empty retail units from numbers seven to 43 Newport Road and make improvements to streets in the town centre. 

However when successful bids across Wales – including £12 million to restore and reopen the Grade II-listed Newbridge bridge to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as £20 million to revamp Barry’s waterfront – were announced on Monday, November 21, once again there was nothing for Monmouthshire. 

Cllr Paul Griffiths, the deputy leader of Monmouthshire County Council, hit out and said: “The people of Caldicot will be bitterly disappointed that the Monmouthshire County Council bid for funding from the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund has again been overlooked by the Conservative ministers in the UK Government, including the secretary of state for Wales, David Davies.

“This was a bid to regenerate Caldicot town centre and revitalise the Leisure Centre so that more people would visit the town. It was a bid that met the urgent needs of people in Caldicot and it deserved to be rewarded.

“I look forward to the election of a Labour Government in Westminster which delivers on its promise to allow the regenerations funds that Wales needs to be managed in Wales by a partnership between Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities.”

Cllr Richard John, who leads the Conservative group on Monmouthshire council, however criticised the council’s leadership for concentrating its third bid entirely only on Caldicot. 

He said: “I’m naturally pleased for those areas of Wales that have won investment from the UK Government to level up, but it’s disappointing that the bid for investment in Caldicot was unsuccessful for the third time.

“Given that Monmouthshire had the opportunity to submit three bids, it’s disappointing that the council’s cabinet couldn’t be bothered to put forward more than one.

“There are two constituencies in Monmouthshire – Labour-held Newport East and Conservative-held Monmouth. If you have the chance to bid for up to £20 million in each constituency as well as a transport bid of up to £50 million, why would you only bid once? The bids wouldn’t be competing against each other because they’re marked by civil servants against criteria and every bid over a certain threshold gets approved.

“Powys has just been awarded nearly £18 million for investment in transport infrastructure, including some major road resurfacing programmes. I feel really disappointed that the council’s new administration couldn’t be bothered to put forward its full entitlement of three bids to secure the investment our residents deserve.

“I understand there’s work involved in putting a bid together and submitting the paperwork, but this feels like a missed opportunity. I feel Labour councillors have let us down.”

When the cabinet agreed to concentrate on one bid in the summer it said there was little detail available and it wanted to concentrate on the one scheme, while it would be looking for other funding sources for other projects.