THE FUTURE OF TAMWORTH’S HIGH STREET SECURED WITH OVER £21MILLION IN GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
- The Government has invested up to £830 million from the Future High Streets Fund
- Tamworth takes a slice of that funding with its ambitious plans and vision being awarded £21,652,555
- Across the country creating thousands of jobs as part of the levelling up agenda.
In a major boost for local high streets, up to £830 million from the Future High Streets Fund will be invested in 72 areas across England, including Tamworth, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced today (26 December).
The funding will help these areas transform their high streets into vibrant hubs for future generations and to protect and create thousands of jobs.
In a key milestone for the Government’s levelling up agenda, this investment will help areas to recover from the pandemic while also driving long term growth. It will enable the delivery of ambitious regeneration plans, drawn up by places, and fund new local projects such as improvements to transport infrastructure, new homes and the transformation of underused spaces.
The funding will also help to protect and create thousands of jobs in a range of industries, delivering opportunities and prosperity to communities across England. Tamworth’s vision is not just about smartening up hanging baskets and repainting benches; it strikes to fundamentally change Tamworth’s High Street for the better whilst creating the right foundations for it to sit at the heart of the community.
The Borough Council through their “Tamworth: What’s Next?” campaign pulled in residents, business owners, landowners and many more to decide on that future vision and put it to Government for funding.
Commenting, Christopher Pincher MP said:
“This is brilliant news for Tamworth and our high street. The ambitious plans from Cllr Danny Cook, Cllr Jeremy Oates and the Conservative team at the Borough Council have clearly impressed the Government and the team who reviewed the heavily oversubscribed application process.
“Over £21 million is a serious amount to rejuvenate our high street, transforming the future of shop and house owners for decades to come. This year has been hard for us all and this announcement today feels like Tamworth really can hit the ground running in 2021 as we, and the rest of the country, build back better after COVID-19.”
Adding, Cllr Jeremy Oates said:
“The announcement of the funding is a once in a generation opportunity and is going to make a huge difference to Tamworth. Receiving this amount of funding is testament to the work that has gone into the project and signals the starting pistol on the road to success. Receiving almost all of the total we bid for means we can deliver a huge amount of change and not just tinker with the edges
“The Government's criteria and our aspiration for our bid was to create transformational change and build the right environment for Tamworth’s Town centre, building the foundations for change. The group of projects will create the link between our celebrating heritage in Castle and the long awaited Gungate development.
“Our aim is to bring more people back into the town centre. More people equals more vibrancy whether it’s in commerce, leisure and heritage or even retail. Our bid includes a number of very exciting projects which are focused on creating the right foundations for a town centre that is at the heart of the community.
“It’s been a long road to get to this point, involving massive amounts of consultation and research. At the start of this process, we asked members of the public what they want to see from their town centre as part of the ‘Tamworth: What’s Next?’ campaign and used this to form the basis of the next phases of planning. Since then, we’ve spoken to and worked with numerous stakeholders, landowners, businesses and many more.
“We’ve thrown everything at this and have done all we can. We know people will be eager to hear the plans, but as the project involves commercially sensitive agreements and proposals with private landowners and sector partnerships, we’re not in a position to say more today.
“This level of funding along with the other projects the council are delivering we are putting the capital of Mercia back on the map, celebrating our heritage and at the same time building a 21st century town centre.
“We really are in challenging but exciting times and this support from central government will help Tamworth reset and recover.”
The Future High Streets Fund was launched in December 2018 and is a key part of the Government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres – making them a more attractive place to live, work and visit. £107 million of the Future High Streets Fund has been allocated to DCMS to support the regeneration of heritage high streets.
The Future High Streets Fund is just one of the ways the Government is supporting the retail and hospitality sector. During the pandemic, it was made it easier for areas to adapt to the challenges they faced. This included making it easier to demolish and rebuild unused buildings to create homes with our High Street Homes Permitted Development Rights; providing restaurants, pubs and cafes with the freedom to offer takeaway services; and making it easier for businesses and communities to host markets and stalls so customers can be served safely. Our local MP, Christopher Pincher, in his role as the Housing Minister spearheaded these reforms through Parliament.
In May a fund was launched to help councils reopen high streets safely and we recently announced that retailers will be able to extend their opening hours over the festive period to help keep shoppers and staff safe.
This month we extended protections from the threat of eviction for businesses unable to pay their rent until March 2021, taking the duration of these measures to one year.
Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, Cllr Daniel Cook, said:
“What a phenomenal Christmas present! This is amazing news for Tamworth and is a great way to end what has otherwise been a difficult and challenging year.
“Our successful bid will enable us to make long-lasting structural changes which recognise the evolving role of town centres as places for enterprise, leisure and living, as well as retail.
“We put forward three options based on different funding amounts and we’re over the moon that we have been awarded enough funds to deliver our ‘ideal world’ scenario, which is more than we could have hoped for.
“Together these projects will raise skills and innovation, remove vacant retail floor space, boost the local economy, unlock opportunities for the community and further investment and provide a lasting legacy for the future of the town centre.
“Those are the headlines, but what it means in reality is creating a town centre that hopefully the people of Tamworth will be proud of. We know the town centre in its current format is struggling, as are all town centres, and needs to change.
“We consulted far and wide with the residents and businesses of Tamworth as part of our ‘Tamworth, What’s Next?’ project and the views given helped to inform our bid for the Future High Streets Fund application process.
“On a personal note, making a real and lasting difference to the town centre was one of my main goals as Leader of this council. I’m delighted that we’ve won the funding to do this just as I prepare to step down from the role early next year. I couldn’t be happier that this will be one of my lasting legacies. I’d like to thank all those involved in pulling this bid together for their hard work.”
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
“The year ahead will be a big one for the high street as it seeks to recover, adapt and evolve as a result of the pandemic. Today’s £830 million investment from the Future High Streets Fund is one of many ways the Government is working to help our much-loved town centres get through this and prosper into the future.
“The role of high street has always evolved. We want to support that change and make sure that they are the beating heart of their local community – with high quality housing and leisure in addition to shops and restaurants.
“This investment will help us build back better and make town centres a more attractive place to live, work and visit.”
Cllr Ben Price (Tamworth Town Centre Champion) said:
"This is testament to all involved, we are about to deliver the biggest change to Tamworth in my generation, we need to learn from past mistakes and there has never been such a big opportunity to bring change, this is Tamworth's moment"