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Dudley town revamp under threat

Dudley | News | Published: | Last Updated:

The £4 million revamp of Dudley's ailing town centre to boost trade and improve living conditions for residents was today under threat after funding was slashed by half.

The £4 million revamp of Dudley's ailing town centre to boost trade and improve living conditions for residents was today under threat after funding was slashed by half.

The cash would have been spent on the repair and restoration of historic buildings as well as work to bring derelict sites of architectural interest back into use.

The Townscape Heritage Initiative was aimed at boosting Dudley's prosperity by attracting businesses and creating jobs. Dudley Council was relying on £2.15m from doomed regional development agency Advantage West Midlands to deliver it.

Deputy council leader, Les Jones, said he believed only about half of the projects earmarked will now happen.

He said: "I can't remember exactly how many there are or the value but it's about half of the projects originally planned.

"We will only be able to do priority projects."

He said the question of what was happening with the scheme was raised at a recent meeting with traders.

Leader of the Labour party in Dudley, councillor David Sparks, said the funding cuts would delay the long awaited regeneration of the town centre.

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He said: "Dudley is desperately in need of investment. The abolition of AWM has removed at a stroke two thirds of the money available across the country.

"The remaining one third has been thrown into the melting pot for everyone to bid for so there is no guarantee we will get anything.

"This means Dudley will not get the level of investment it needs and will take a lot longer to recover."

Dudley Council spokesman Chris Howes said around a dozen projects were currently being worked on and the council is looking at a range of other potential funding opportunities.

By Heather Loat

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