Darlington’s MP Peter Gibson has questioned why his town has failed to win levelling up funding, despite submitting bids three times. 

The Conservative appeared in the House of Commons on Monday (November 20) to ask Jacob Young, levelling up minister, what can be done to improve his town’s chances to receive the cash boost. 

The Darlington bid included extra investment for the A68 roundabouts scheme at Cockerton and a new underpass at Victoria Road but was not selected by the Department for Levelling Up. 

Mr Young, also the Conservative MP for Redcar, failed to directly answer the question but praised the government’s recent investment in the town. 

Fifty-five projects across the UK have been awarded a share of nearly £1 billion from the Government’s levelling up fund, it was announced on Monday. Billingham will receive £20 million to improve its town centre, while South Shields and Newcastle will also benefit from similar funding. 

The latest projects earmarked for funding were chosen from a pool of bids that were unsuccessful in the second round, avoiding the competitive bidding process seen previously.

“Darlington narrowly missed out in round one, two and three of the Levelling Up Fund,” said Mr Gibson. “The minister, from the North East himself, will be familiar with the phrase shy bairns. What advice can he give me in respect of the Darlington projects that still need funding?”

In response, Mr Young MP said Mr Gibson is an “amazing champion for Darlington” and also hailed decisions led by the Conservative Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen as beneficial for the area. 

He added: “The investment we’re making into Darlington rail station, the investment the Treasury has made bringing civil service to Darlington, Teesside mayor Ben Houchen buying back Teesside Airport, the Darlington Town Deal; all these things are dependant on the fantastic champion for Darlington and his former council leader Jonathan Dulston.

“I will continue to work with him and others to level up right across the Tees Valley.”

Speaking after the minister's statement, Mr Gibson said: “Naturally I am disappointed to not secure money in this round which specifically focused on funding for Cockerton Roundabouts which Darlington Council wants and the replacement of the Skerne underpass at Victoria Rd which is reaching the end of its life.

"Fortunately the additional £971million for Tees Valley from Network North funding provides another opportunity to fund those projects."

Darlington Borough Council was contacted for comment.