Shop owners in Bulwell fear the town centre could "cease to exist" if a £20 million funding bid is not successful. An application was first put in during the summer for Bulwell to get some of the Government's second round of levelling up money.
Nottingham City Council placed an overall bid of £57 million, with £20 million going to the Broad Marsh and £17 million also going to Nottingham's Island Quarter. A decision on whether the three projects had been successful was initially due in October.
This date had to be put back after the deadline to apply for funding was extended. Rishi Sunak then promised decisions would be announced by the end of this year when he took over as Prime Minister.
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But the Government has confirmed a decision will now be made by the end of January instead. A Government spokesperson said it wanted time to "carefully consider" all the bids received and that up to £2.1 billion would eventually be given out across the country in this funding round.
But Nottingham North's Labour and Co-operative MP, Alex Norris, said another delay to the funding decision was "dreadful" for Bulwell. Shop owners in the town all agreed the £20 million of funding was needed.
Jason Whalley, 51, has owned the Kidz World shop in Bulwell's Tudor Court for 11 years. He said: "That money would be absolutely brilliant for Bulwell. Since Covid the town has really struggled and after 2pm it still looks very quiet when you're walking around.
"The shops are starting to fill up again now but it does need something to really lift it up. There's a view that some people have that Bulwell is just nail bars and vape shops, so we need to attract more businesses to the town, but also shout about what we already have.
"Here in Tudor Court we're very tucked away and I am actually looking at moving to a shop that's on the front. But it is lovely here and something needs to be done so that the entrance to our corner of Bulwell looks better."
Another Tudor Court shop owner is Stephen O'Neill, 43, who has recently transformed the small shopping area into a winter wonderland for Christmas. But despite such positive action in the area, he agreed that £20 million of levelling up money was needed for Bulwell.
The tattoo studio owner said: "If Bulwell doesn't get this support then it could cease to exist. I've lived in Clifton and that is an area which has had a lot of money poured into it over the years and you can really tell.
"We need that here too because Bulwell has a really unique feel and I think with enough support, it could compete with Nottingham as a place for people to shop. I would personally like to see the money spent on projects like an overheard canopy for the market so that it becomes an all-weather experience.
"It's all about getting market traders interested and it's good for the council because if you've got more traders buying up stalls, the council is getting more money in. We do need this funding and even though it sounds like a lot of money, it would be used up very quickly if Bulwell got it."
Some have argued the ability for the £20 million to go far in Bulwell, if the town's bid is successful, will not have been helped by the Government's delay on the decision. Chris Hobson, the Director of Policy and External Affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, said: "When money becomes available, there is a whole lot of work that needs to take place and if you squeeze the timescales available to do that work, you limit the opportunity for it to have maximum impact.
"It's really poor to have delays when it comes to funding, particularly given the current climate when money is tight. We need central government to do better for us when it comes to giving people certainty on what is coming down the line."
Despite anger on the delay, many in Bulwell acknowledged that any amount of investment would be welcome in the town. Charity Muchina, 49, has run a dressmaking and alterations shop in Bulwell for 12 years and said: "I don't have any problems in terms of living in Bulwell, but the shops do seem to be struggling.
"A lot of the shops are closing and that isn't something that has happened over the years I've been here, it has mainly happened since Covid. The town definitely needs something to help its businesses."
At the time of submitting its bid, Nottingham City Council said the £20 million Bulwell element would see improvements to the market place, the restoration of heritage buildings and the creation of a new Bulwell Promenade.
The Government spokesperson added: "We appreciate the work that bidders have put into the applications and we thank them for their patience."
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