Sandwell Council is drawing up ambitious plans to regenerate three town areas in the borough – in a bid to win a slice of the £3.6 billion cash available nationwide for regeneration schemes.
Councillor Maria Crompton, Deputy Council Leader, said the council was pulling out all the stops to secure Government cash after three local towns – West Bromwich, Rowley Regis and Smethwick – were selected to bid for grants of up to £25 million.
The three names were on a list of 100 towns across the country selected for the Government’s Towns Fund scheme. The council is now working up comprehensive bids to secure some of the available cash for the three town areas.
The funding available can be used to help regenerate town centres, increase local skills – thus stimulating local businesses – and improve both digital and physical connectivity.
It is hoped that a successful application to the fund will provide the three towns with the opportunity for transformational change and ensure that West Bromwich, Smethwick and Rowley Regis are all prepared for the changing nature of the high street in the 21st century.
The investment plans, which will be developed with local communities and organisations, will be submitted to the Government by early 2021.
Councillor Crompton said the council had decided to set up a Super Board to develop bids for each town. The board – which has an independent chair, Jude Thompson – will work on an extensive community consultation to develop the bids, working in partnership with local people, businesses and partner organisations.
A report on the Towns Fund will be discussed by the council’s Cabinet on 22 July.