A decision by the Government to knock back a Halton funding bid for one of the most deprived areas in England has been branded 'shameful'.

Halton Council's £11.7m application for Levelling Up funding would have seen major investment in Halton Lea, including the first phase of delivery of 464 new homes in Palacefields, a new health and wellbeing hub and 1km of new cycleways.

Earlier today the Government announced more than 100 successful bidders to its £2.1bn fund, with 15 based in the North West - but Halton's bid was not awarded any cash.

Halton Council said the bid, along with £1.911m of match funding, had the potential unlock £33.6m of investment.

A council spokesperson said: “We are incredibly disappointed that Halton Lea, which contains a large area that falls within the top 10 per cent most deprived nationally, has been overlooked in today’s announcement.

“We believe we had set out a strong case against the Government’s criteria, that sought to build a stronger and more successful neighbourhood.

“While this is undoubtedly a setback, we will continue to work with partners to explore and hopefully secure alternative funding to enable us to deliver this important programme of work.”

The council's bid had initially been put on ice in the summer as the chaos engulfing Downing Street saw a rapid turnover of government ministers in just a matter of days, with levelling up secretary Michael Gove sacked and branded 'a snake' by No.10 insiders, while entire departments were left without anyone at the helm.  The time limit for applications was extended as a result and Halton's bid eventually submitted.

Today's news saw the North West claim £355m from the fund – the largest amount awarded to any region.

Successful bids included £50m for Eden Project North in Morecambe, a seafront visitor attraction intended to bring in 740,000 visitors a year and create 300 green jobs.

Ellesmere Port received just over £13m for cycle links and walkways, as well for improvements to the town’s market hall. St Helens council also received £20m to transform Earlestown’s market square and re-imagine the town hall as a new hub and workspace.

Reacting to the Halton Lea decision, Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, whose constituency covers East Runcorn, said he was 'deeply disappointed' and accused the Government of 'turning its back on a community in desperate need of investment to deal with social, economic and health inequalities'.

He added: "Unfortunately, I am not shocked at the decision given we have a multi-millionaire Prime Minister who bragged on camera about undoing Labour formulas to shift resources out of ‘deprived urban areas’.

"And surprise, surprise, his wealthy rural constituency is to receive £19m Levelling Up funding while the Runcorn part of my constituency gets absolutely nothing. It’s shameful and so blatant."

Now back in post following July's shenanigans, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, said: "We are firing the starting gun on more than a hundred transformational projects in every corner of the UK that will revitalise communities that have historically been overlooked but are bursting with potential."

"This new funding will create jobs, drive economic growth, and help to restore local pride. We are delivering on the people’s priorities, levelling up across the UK to ensure that no matter where you are from, you can go as far as your talents will take you."