Significant proposals to regenerate the main town centres in North Worcestershire are being prepared with the support of £70 million external grant funding.
The funding has recently been secured by North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWedR) from the Future High Streets Fund, Towns Fund and the recently announced Levelling Up Fund and will support the delivery of major capital projects in Bromsgrove, Kidderminster and Redditch. The gross development value of the proposed projects exceeds £100 million.
Ostap Paparega, Head of NWedR, said: “At the core of these proposals sits a place making approach that will transform and re-purpose our town centres as creative, leisure and employment destinations offering new and exciting experiences to residents, visitors and businesses alike. The proposed interventions will introduce new uses that support daytime activities and the evening economy, attracting more people to our town centres and increasing the footfall on our high streets.”
The funding will enable the delivery of specific projects now being considered by council leaders. In Bromsgrove Town Centre – £14.5m, Levelling Up Fund will fund a 3,000 sqm flexible workspace and cultural hub on the former Market Hall site. It will deliver site infrastructure and enabling works to unlock a key town centre site for a residential-led mixed-use development as well as comprehensive public realm improvements.
In Kidderminster Town Centre £38.4 million from the Future High Street Fund (£20.5 million) and Levelling Up Fund (£17.9 million) will support converting the Grade II listed former Magistrates Court building into a 5,000 sqm Creative Hub, including 1,000 sq m of covered multi-purpose event space. Regeneration proposals include converting a town centre Grade II listed building into a 35-room boutique hotel and renovating, improving and extending the Grade II listed Kidderminster Town Hall to create a top-class performing arts venue and cultural hub. There will also be improvements to the historic canal towpath which runs through the town centre.
In Redditch Town Centre – £16.6 million, from the Towns Fund are proposed to fund 2,000 sq m of flexible office and leisure uses plus a multi-purpose outdoor event space in the town centre. It will also enable the delivery of a 3,000s sq m Digital Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to support the town’s manufacturing businesses, which constitute the largest employment sector in the borough, plus a comprehensive package of public realm improvements.
The grant funding will act as a catalyst for further investment strengthening North Worcestershire’s appeal as an investment destination. Ostap Paparega said
“We are seeing the external funding secured for these projects as enabling pump-priming funding that will lever in significant private investment and we are looking forward to engaging with private investors and developers to maximise the opportunities arising from this initial major public investment.”
NWedR, which is a shared service between the local authorities of Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest, leads the delivery of these transformational programmes.