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High street cash set to be announced this summer

By Pete Madeley | Politics | Published:

Councils are set to find out this summer whether they have been successful in securing part of a £675m funding pot to revive high streets.

West Bromwich town centre could be among those supported

Local authorities in the Black Country and Staffordshire are among 300 across the country to bid for the cash, which has been set up to help regenerate town centres.

It will fund initiatives including improving transport networks, converting old shops into new homes, and restoring historic high street buildings to create new work spaces or cultural venues.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “More than 300 bids to the Future High Street Fund is a fantastic response and shows the passion across the country to meet the challenges facing our high streets head-on.

“The Government has the power to set the direction but those on the ground know best.

“I look forward to reviewing the innovative proposals from local leaders to transform our high streets and town centres and make them fit for the future.

“We’re determined to ensure high streets continue sit at the heart of our communities for generations to come. Our Future High Streets Fund will sit front and centre of our Plan for the High Street as we work to achieve this aim.”

Sandwell Council has bid for £25m to make improvements to West Bromwich town centre, including building more than 700 new homes.

Walsall town centre could also received funding as part of the revamp plans

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The council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Paul Moore, said he wanted to see "high quality town centre living" coming to the borough.

Dudley Council has submitted a bid for up to £16m to breathe new life into Brierley Hill High Street, while Walsall Council has also submitted an expression of interest for cash to help boost its town centre masterplan.

Wolverhampton Council put in a bid to support its work on "re-imagining and reinventing" the city, focusing on the area of the city centre to the west of, and including, Victoria Street.

Council leader Roger Lawrence said: "Support through the Future High Street Fund would build on the strong delivery that is already underway in the city centre, it will enhance and connect an area of the city centre that has, over recent years faced a number of challenges.”

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Meanwhile Stafford Borough Council wants cash to address empty buildings, revitalise the north of the town centre and improve links into the town.

The fund has been backed by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and the region's combined authority, who said town centres needed to "reverse the decline".

"Successful bids for the fund will give our member authorities further support to deliver the innovative, transformational change that is so much needed to benefit more of our communities," he said.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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