Walsall Council takes first steps towards funding bid

The first steps towards bidding for up to £50 million from the Government's Towns Fund have been made by Walsall Council.

The authority has invited senior officers from a range of public sector partners, agencies, education providers and the voluntary sector to come together with business leaders to create the new Town Deal Board.

Also in attendance was the MP for Walsall North, Eddie Hughes.

This is a key stage in the process to successfully develop bids to the Ministry of for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), following their announcement that Walsall and Bloxwich had been selected along with around 100 UK towns to share in a £3.6 billion fund to drive their long-term economic growth.

The Town Deal Board will steer and support the development of Town Investment Plans for the two locations. Board members and council officers will now begin working to develop ideas that could see investment in areas such as; connectivity, land use, cultural assets, skills and enterprise and local infrastructure, that are capable of unlocking their economic potential.

Speaking about the opportunity, deputy leader of Walsall Council, Councillor Adrian Andrew said: “We are fortunate to find ourselves in this position which could provide us with the funds to make lasting changes.

"The challenge will be to combine these funds with other streams to allow ourselves to be ambitious in our plans. There is still a long way to go but we will be presenting Government with positive plans to improve Walsall and Bloxwich, the towns they have chosen.”

The new body includes members of the Walsall Economic Board and was brought together by Walsall Council’s Head of Programme Management, Mark Lavender who added: “We’ve brought together a breadth of talent, experience and expertise.

"There was a lot of energy and ideas in the room. We now have to convert that into practical proposals that satisfy the criteria set out by the MHCLG. I’m confident that by working together we can do just that.”

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