Thirty towns to benefit from multi-million pound boost

Communities minister Robert Jenrick has outlined plans to help thirty towns across England regenerate their economies and ‘build back better’ following the pandemic.

These new Town Deals aim to rejuvenate neglected areas and unused buildings with a range of projects to create new spaces for businesses, community events or much-needed new homes.

Funding will also be used to renovate attractions, enhancing the cultural and tourism offers of a number of places.

It is hoped the Deals will create thousands of new jobs through investment in schemes to improve skills and encourage higher paid jobs into the areas, which include seaside towns such as Hartlepool and Hastings as well as market towns throughout the country.

Sustainability was of paramount importance in many of the bids. In Hereford, which is set to receive £22.4m, part of the award will be used to fund a fleet of ‘City Zipper’ electric buses.

Lauren Rogers, Chair of the #StrongerHereford Board said: ‘After many months of hard work from everyone involved, especially the residents, communities and businesses who put forward project ideas and worked with us to develop the Town Investment Plan, it’s fair to say we are delighted.

‘This funding will deliver a programme of work that will help Hereford become a thriving city that is green, fair, connected, digital and cultural.’

Speaking to NewStartMag, she added: ‘Everyone has worked so hard in creating a real vision for Hereford. Now that we’ve got the funding, that vision won’t just sit on a shelf.

‘What has been really special about our bid is that it has come from the ground up; it has been an opportunity for people to put forward their ideas and see those ideas come to fruition.’

man walking on Fossgate street

In addition to renovating the historic castle and visitor centre, Hastings will be opening a green and low carbon centre of excellence providing new commercial space and adding improved active transport facilities in the town centre.

Carole Dixon, co-chair of Hastings Town Deal Board, said: ‘We are grateful that the Government saw the regeneration opportunities these proposals offer our seaside town and we are delighted with the news that Hastings has been successful in being awarded £24.3m funding through the Towns Fund.

 ‘£24.3m is a significant amount, and we are excited to be able to use this to enable the successful projects to come to life. Helping to regenerate our town and creating more opportunities for businesses and residents sits at the heart of the bid.’

In Doncaster, a £24.8m investment will be used to enhance the area around Doncaster Station Gateway. High-quality commercial space with walking and cycling connections is expected to increase footfall in the town centre and boost further investment.

Tariq Shah, chair of the Doncaster Town Deal Board, spoke to NewStartMag after the announcement and sees it as a huge opportunity, another step towards making the town every bit as good as it can be.

Describing a very positive experience, he was keen to praise everyone involved for the collaborative way in which the public and private sector worked together on the bid. He believes the process should be a model for public sector funding in the future.

Mr Shah said the change will be catalytic, adding it was: ‘A life changing investment that creates real opportunity for people living and working in the area. In Doncaster the next generation will have access to real opportunity to take the skills and experience of people in the town and look at how to develop new and innovative businesses.’

Photo credit –  Frederica Diamanta


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