The government has made a further announcement of funding allocations under the Towns Fund for 30 towns in England, intended to boost their local economies, create jobs and help them build back from the pandemic.
The schemes approved will feature transformation of public spaces, delivery of green transport links and revamping cultural and tourist attractions, with a mission to re-energise the local economy and improve the look and feel of the areas.
These new Towns Deals range from seaside towns like Hastings and Hartlepool, to the historic market towns of Bedford and Bishop Auckland.
According to the government, the Deals 'will help breathe new life into neglected areas or unused buildings by creating vibrant spaces for businesses, community events or much needed new homes.'
Sustainability is claimed to be at the heart of many of the schemes with new greener transport infrastructure including cycle paths and pedestrian walkways that will connect areas in the greenest way possible.
Projects also include renovations to attractions like the Norman castle in Hastings (pictured) helping to boost the cultural and tourism offers of towns.
The Deals are expected to create thousands of jobs, with many towns investing in opportunities to improve skills through new vocational training hubs that will support high skilled and higher paid jobs in the area for local people.
Amongst the schemes approved are the following:
- Hereford is set to use its £22.4 million investment to introduce a fleet of electric buses and regenerate the museum, library and art gallery into a unique modern visitor attraction.
- Doncaster will use its £24.8 million of investment to upgrade Doncaster Station Gateway and its surroundings by creating greener transport options such as cycle lanes and walking routes. The money will also be used to provide high-quality and attractive commercial space, boosting investment and increasing footfall to the town centre.
- Hastings £24.3 million investment includes a new green and Low Carbon Centre of Excellence that will provide new commercial space while also helping the Town seize the opportunities of the emerging green economy. It will also boost the Town’s tourism offer through improvements to the Castle and other public spaces.
- Hartlepool will invest part of their £25 million deal in a new Health and Care Academy and a Civil Engineering Institute to boost local skills as part of plans to support more higher-skilled, higher-paid jobs in the local area.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
We are levelling up towns and cities across the country by building stronger and more resilient local economies, boosting prosperity and opportunity in our communities, and helping them build back better from the pandemic.
Today I am announcing new town deals in 30 areas, backed by over £725 million investment from the Towns Fund. This will support locally-led projects to transform disused buildings and public spaces, deliver new green transport and create new opportunities for people to develop new skills. This is a boost for communities and businesses across England.
The announcement means that 83 Towns Deals have now been agreed - totalling over £2 billion investment in communities across England. The original Towns Fund was announced in July 2019 by the Prime Minister, who said that a total of £3.6 billion in the fund would support an initial 101 town deals across England.
It is claimed to be an key element of a wider action plan by the government to level up opportunity and prosperity across all areas of the country, including through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, the £220 million Community Renewal Fund and the £830 million Future High Streets Fund, as well as the Towns Fund.
A Town Deal is an agreement in principle between government, the lead council and the Town Deal Boards, which have been set up in the candidate areas to bring together appropriate schemes. Their proposals set out a vision and strategy for the town, and what each party agrees to do to achieve this vision.
The offers just announced respond to locally led proposals put forward by the lead council and Town Deal Boards with representation from business, the local community, public sectors and local MPs.
A summary of all of the newly announced deals is set out below:
|Ashfield (joint Kirkby & Sutton)||£62.6m|