The council is set to bid in another round of the Levelling Up scheme despite the disappointment of Round Two, leader Martyn Cox said.

Cllr Cox spoke to the Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove last week about the scheme, which the Conservative government started in 2020.

In Round Two, two applications worth a total of £40 million were lodged by the council, although these were overlooked when the outcome was announced at the start of this year.

According to data obtained by the borough's Labour Group, the preparation and the submission of these applications cost more than £150,000.

But an update to councillors last month suggested the resources were wasted as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) made changes to its criteria due to the level of demand, with more than 500 bids submitted in total.

READ MORE: Bolton Council spent tens of thousands on Levelling Up bids.

Cllr Cox said: "I was very, very critical of the process in which authorities spent their resources on these bids only to be told one part of the criteria was whether or not we won in the past.

"If they're going to judge the bids based on what's in the past rather than what's in the bids, that's not right. [Mr Gove] said he's got the message loud and clear and it won't happen again."

Despite the disappointment, the council is set to bid in another round of the Levelling Up scheme, understood to be at the end of this year.

The next round is understood to be different, although there is still "an element of bidding", with the DLUHC and the Treasury in the process of confirming the criteria.

The Bolton News:

Cllr Cox said: "I'm not going to accept criticism for being ambitious. We will go for everything we think we've got a chance of winning. 

"We will not always be successful and when we're not successful people will criticise us. But that's not a reason not to go for everything. 

"At the moment, we've won a lot of money and you're beginning to see the money spent on things like the library, on Central Street, on Moor Lane, on the pocket park.

"I think in the last couple of weeks we've lost sight of this, really."

READ MORE: Bolton misses out on town centre and De Havilland Way bids

In Round Two, the applications to the Levelling Up scheme were for the town centre and for De Havilland Way.

The aim of the bid for the town centre was to add a hotel to Le Mans Crescent and a conference complex to Albert Halls, and to improve Market Place shopping centre and the area around Mawdsley Street.

Meanwhile the aim of the bid for De Havilland Way was to increase capacity and to improve connectivity in what is an area of significant congestion between the Beehive Roundabout and the motorway.

Cllr Cox said the council would consider the criteria once confirmed and the feedback on Round Two once received before any decision is made on the applications in the next round.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.