The leader of Merton Council said missing out on £20m of government funding for a town centre makeover was a “kick in the teeth” for locals.

Merton wanted to revamp Morden town centre and build more than 1,000 homes.

But the council’s bid for a share of the £2.1 billion from the government’s levelling up fund was unsuccessful.

Plans for the regeneration of the neighbourhood at the end of the Northern Line have been in the pipeline for more than 15 years, and the council has been on the lookout for funding for the project.

Councillor Garrod, Leader of Merton Council: “This is government kicking Merton residents in the teeth again.

"Our proposal would have regenerated Morden town centre, provided over 1,000 homes and boosted Morden’s economy, but after rejection by the Towns Fund two years ago government has again today done nothing to create new homes and opportunities for Merton residents.”

Council leader Ross Garrod said of the eight successful bids in the capital just two were in South London, in Sutton and Lewisham.

Neighbouring borough, Sutton, was successful in its bid for £14 million to reinstate a twin track between Sutton and Belmont.

The work will mean trains to Belmont Station could double from two to four per hour to increase services to the London Cancer Hub.

Cllr Garrod added: “The way funding decisions for local projects are made must be overhauled.

"The Levelling Up Fund actually works against levelling up communities by pitting them against each other in a fight for cash, when these decisions would be better made by local communities themselves.”

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of the Local Government Information Unit said: “People will debate whether these allocations are right or fair but the real problem here is that this is a crazy way to fund local government.

“With competitive bids and the government picking winners – there will always be losers.”