Call for UK Government to overturn £18m funding rejection for Scots town

A bid to rejuvenate Elgin using funding from the UK Government's Levelling Up scheme was rejected.

Call for UK Government to overturn £18m Levelling Up rejection for Elgin rejuvenation iStock

Councillors will be asked to back a move to have a decision on an £18m funding bid to rejuvenate Elgin overturned.

Moray Council spent around £325,000 putting together an application to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund. However, the bid was rejected.

Now two SNP councillors want Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove to reverse the decision.

Member for Elgin South Graham Leadbitter will put forward a notice of motion calling for a letter to go to Gove expressing the council’s concern and for the decision to be overturned.

He is seconded by Buckie councillor John Stuart.

The move will be discussed at a meeting of the economic development and infrastructure committee next week.

The motion asks the committee to commend work put in by officers for the “strong and ambitious bid” to the second round of the Levelling Up Fund.

It also wants committee chairman Marc Macrae to write to Gove expressing “dismay” at the decision and ask for it to be “reversed”.

The Westminster government gave around £125,000 towards the cost of preparing the bid.

While design work compiled for the application will be used by the council to try and secure other funding, that money is not guaranteed.

It means a delay on work for three projects in Elgin the £18m was supposed to fund.

One was to tackle flooding at the auction mart and former sawmill site on Linkwood Road.

Disused buildings in the town centre were to be redeveloped for commercial and residential use.

And the third was to  create an arts centre on South Street.

Around 40 jobs were expected to be created as part of the rejuvenation work.

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