More than 180 jobs to be created as five regeneration projects receive go-ahead

Five Black Country regeneration projects, creating more than 180 jobs, have been given the go-ahead thanks to £23.5 million funding.

Sandwell Council House building
Sandwell Council House building

The funding is a huge step forward for Sandwell’s Towns Fund Programme and allows the delivery of the five projects, which aim to engage, inspire and connect Smethwick's communities.

Across the projects, 31 full-time equivalent jobs will be created, along with 155 temporary jobs.

The projects will also result in 2.7km of new cycle ways and 3.6km of new pedestrian paths.

Over the past 18 months, the Towns Fund Superboard, Smethwick local boards and key delivery partners – including Sandwell Council, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust – have worked to shape and develop all five Smethwick projects.

As it is a five-year programme, the projects will come to life at different points during this period.

Councillor Peter Hughes, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and growth, said: "We welcome the government's approval for our five Smethwick projects, which will make a real difference to our residents.

"By working together in partnership, we will strengthen our businesses, enhance our infrastructure, boost Sandwell’s entrepreneurial spirit, bring communities together and create a fairer, more resilient Sandwell."

The first of the projects will see the expansion of the Ron Davis Centre, an adult learning centre, to provide a greater range of services to the wider Smethwick community.

Grove Lane Regeneration project will see the acquisition and remediation of a selected site within the area to accelerate regeneration for housing delivery.

Meanwhile, the Smethwick Connected scheme will improve access and connectivity within Smethwick by delivering cycling and walking infrastructure improvements, and enhance safety.

Jude Thompson, chair of Towns Fund Superboard, said: "I’m extremely proud that Smethwick projects have been approved and are moving ahead to the next stage.

"This is an amazing opportunity for everyone involved to help shape the local area for the future.

"These projects will make a difference to so many local people’s lives and our communities.

Another project will see a major new skills resource next to the Midland Met University Hospital development, called Midland Met Learning Campus, to provide training in health care and healthcare-related positions.

The Rolfe Street Canalside Regeneration project, led by the council, will see the demolition and remediation of the site to free up land for a development-ready location, which will provide much needed housing to support the wider regeneration of the town.

Alan Taylor, chair of Smethwick Local Board, said: "The Smethwick Towns Fund is a valuable opportunity to make a real difference to the people and businesses of Smethwick and the wider area of Sandwell.

"I believe that these investments, together with the Smethwick Connected transport infrastructure projects, will help Smethwick prepare to for the next successful part of its history."

To date, eight out of 16 projects have been approved by the government, with the partnership looking forward to receiving a response from the government on the Rowley Regis Town Deal projects and the remaining West Bromwich projects in due course.

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