Parts of the Black Country to benefit from Government Town's Fund

Parts of the Black Country have been awarded £5.5 million in funding to kick start regeneration projects.

The cash, from the Government's Towns Fund, will see Dudley and Wolverhampton receive £1m each, Bloxwich, Rowley Regis, Smethwick and Walsall get £750,000 and West Bromwich being handed £500,000.

It will be used to support projects such as new green spaces, the creation of pop-up businesses zones, pedestrianising streets to encourage walking and cycling and launching new community hubs to support people who live alone.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: "This funding is a welcome boost that will drive growth, kick start local projects and support communities, which will be vital as we respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We will be working with councils and businesses leaders to ensure that this vital funding makes a real difference in the town centres selected across the Black Country."

The money forms part of an £80m boost to regeneration involving 101 areas, and is the first part of the Government’s £3.6bn plan to "level up" communities across England.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "Our Towns Fund will help to share prosperity across the country and level up.

"This £80m funding for immediate investment is a real boost for our towns and will help them thrive with investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.

"It will give them the opportunity to drive economic growth and improve prospects for their communities, which will be vital as the country respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We are fully behind our high streets and will support local areas to build back better."

All areas that have been selected to work towards a Town Deal were given a funding allocation with proposals submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in August, before being reviewed by officials and a final decision made by ministers.

Wolverhampton put forward a bid for up to £48m to transform the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield.

Plans include an Arts Park next to the Grand Theatre and City Centre Public Realm Phase 2, plus a Bilston Market, Wednesfield Market and High Street events programme.

Wolverhampton Council leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: "It has the potential to generate thousands of jobs, apprenticeships and learning opportunities, as well as deliver hundreds of new homes, and provide a huge economic uplift to our city."

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