Sandwell’s Towns Fund Programme has taken a leap forward this week, with £19m funding for five regeneration projects in Rowley Regis being approved by the government.
In 2020, Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich were among 101 places selected by central government to bid for funding in the national Towns Fund initiative. All three bids were successful.
This week the government has approved the funding for the five individual Rowley Regis projects.
Together, the Rowley Regis Town Fund projects will deliver ambitious projects that will have a positive effect on Rowley Regis residents through improved transport links and community space, and a new skills centre. As it is a five-year programme, projects will come to life at different points during this period.
The five Rowley Regis Town Fund projects are:
• Britannia Park Greenspace and Community Hub (Sandwell Council) – improving the infrastructure, facilities and environmental quality of Britannia Park through the delivery of a new low-carbon community building. This will provide changing rooms, new allotment plots, tree planting, reconstructed skate park, new play and fitness equipment and improve the main entrance and driveway, car park and constructing footpaths within the park.
• Canal Network Connectivity (Canal & River Trust) – improving active travel connectivity within and across Rowley Regis by upgrading the Old Main Line Canal and Dudley No.2 Canal towpath surfaces, and access points onto the canal from surrounding areas.
• Rowley Regis Satellite Education Hub (Sandwell College) – a new, dedicated education and training centre in Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis, to enable the engagement of young people and adults. The Hub will work in conjunction with local community groups to provide access to social, medical and other education advice and services – providing a ‘resource centre’ with Sandwell College as the anchor institution.
• Blackheath Bus Interchange and Public Realm (Sandwell Council) – the creation of a central bus interchange around Blackheath Market Place. This will improve arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists, creating new public realm and a focal point to the town centre, adapting delivery arrangements and excluding through traffic.
• Rowley Regis Connected (Sandwell Council) – a phased set of infrastructure improvements to link transport (rail, bus) and employment hubs in Blackheath, Cradley Heath and Oldbury. Delivering new pedestrian and cycle routes including segregated cycle routes, resurfacing and widening footpaths, upgrading crossing facilities and lighting, introducing traffic calming, improving signage and road markings.
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “The council, working in partnership with Sandwell College and the Canal & River Trust, has achieved government approval for the £19 million funding for the five Towns Fund projects, which will enable us to drive the town’s economic regeneration.
“As a result, we will deliver long-term economic growth that will benefit Rowley Regis’ residents and businesses, gearing up the skills of our workforce so they can respond to changing business needs and play their part in a growing, resilient economy.”
About the other Towns Fund bids in Sandwell
Sandwell Council has worked in partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Canal & River Trust, Greets Green Community Enterprise Centre and Sandwell College (Sandwell’s Towns Fund Partnership) to help secure £67.5 million Towns Fund investment in total for Sandwell. This is the largest amount for any local authority area under the Towns Fund programme.
To date, 13 out of 16 projects have been approved by the government, securing £46m for the benefit of Sandwell. Sandwell’s Towns Fund Partnership looks forward to receiving a response from the government on the remaining West Bromwich Town Deal projects.