Towns Fund cash boost a gamechanger for Walsall, council bosses say

A multi-million pound funding boost has been hailed as a "gamechanger" for a Black Country borough.

Walsall town centre
Walsall town centre

Walsall has been awarded a £21.3 million slice of £610m in Government funding to help towns rebuild their economies in the wake of the pandemic.

The cash, which comes from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund unveiled in July 2019, is intended to kickstart urban regeneration and boost green transport infrastructure, tourism and jobs.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council and regeneration chief, said: "This is a real boost for the whole borough and shows the Government is serious about levelling up.

"This is a gamechanger for Walsall, and we need to grasp this opportunity as hard as we can."

Projects lined up in Walsall include a construction skills academy, a digital skills hub and a community learning campus. Schemes have also been outlined to improve connectivity through better transport links, and to support the creative sector to enhance the look of the town centre.

Mr Andrew added: "We are looking to make our economy more dynamic, and a big part of that is supporting people into work."

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, said the funding was "great news for Walsall".

He said: "I know Walsall Council have some exciting plans for the town, and this latest investment will help turn them into reality.

“Town and city centres are absolutely critical to the West Midlands and our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and that’s why we’ve been lobbying to get the funding we need."

Walsall Council is waiting to hear whether a £25m bid for funding for Bloxwich has been successful.

Other areas in the Black Country to receive cash from the Towns Fund in previous announcements include West Bromwich (£25m), Smethwick (£23.5m), Rowley Regis (£19m) and Wolverhampton (£25m).

Ministers say that a total of 79 towns deals have now been agreed.

In the Midlands, Ashfield in Nottinghamshire will get £62.6m; Corby in Northamptonshire will receive £19.9m; Hereford in Herefordshire is due £22.4m, while Long Eaton in Derbyshire has been awarded £24.8m.

Loughborough in Leicestershire will get £16.9m; Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire was awarded £23.6m; Redditch in Worcestershire will receive £15.6m, while Stapleford in Nottinghamshire will get £21.1m.

Telford in Shropshire will get £22.3m and Worcester is due £19.6m.

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.”

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