Worcestershire cities, Worcester and Redditch are to receive a combined £35.2 million to deliver long-term economic growth for the cities and support recovery after COVID.
The awards follow the submission of successful bids by Worcester City Council and Redditch Borough Council to the Government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund. They were two of 101 towns across the UK to be given the opportunity to create a Town Investment Plan, making a compelling pitch for the funding.
Both Worcester and Redditch have built Towns Fund Boards, which have proactively engaged with residents and businesses throughout 2020 to get a broad range of local views on how the money could be best invested in both areas.
In Redditch the fund will be used to invest in skills, digital manufacturing, green infrastructure and town centre regeneration in accordance with the Town Investment Plan. Projects include the creation of a Digital Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, upgrades to Church Green, Evesham Walk and Unicorn Hill, as well as improving walking and cycling infrastructure.
Worcester’s Town Investment Plan, which was the basis for the successful bid, includes initiatives to regenerate areas of the city and boost the local economy.
Worcester City Council had already successfully applied for £17.9m from Government’s Future High Streets Fund, receiving confirmation at the end of December 2020. This follows £3m awarded to the City Council from the DCMS Cultural Development Fund, towards the regeneration of the Victorian railway arches from Foregate Street railway station to The Hive and the River Severn.
Redditch MP Rachel Maclean, said: “Our agenda to Unlock Redditch is now benefitting from real investment from central government, which means we will press ahead with the delivery of tangible change for the people of Redditch. I believe this funding really will be game-changing for our town. We will make Redditch a town fit for the 21st Century by investing in skills, tackling climate change and making Redditch a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
Cllr Marc Bayliss, Leader of Worcester City Council, and Worcestershire LEP Board member, said: “I am delighted that the Government has decided to award the city almost £20 million more to back our regeneration plans. This money is on top of the £18 million we were awarded last year from the Future High Street Fund and together these funds provide us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create an even better city, fit for the 21st Century and which helps all our communities to meet their potential. This really is evidence of the Government delivering on its levelling-up agenda.”
Councillor Matt Dormer, leader of Redditch Borough Council, said: “This really is an historic investment for Redditch and could well be the single largest government investment our town has seen since it became a new town. Local Conservatives have always demanded better for our town – and that’s exactly what we will be able to deliver thanks to this funding.
“Now it’s time to get on and deliver our ambitious plans to unlock Redditch’s full potential. The public support is there – confirmed by the surveys we’ve done, and the amazing results at the elections last month – and now the money is starting to arrive so we can push ahead.”