Dudley and Bloxwich to share £46 million funding for major schemes

A raft of major projects have been given the green light after two Black Country towns secured more than £46 million in funding.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick in Dudley with Councillor Patrick Harley, Andrew Lovett from Black Country Museum, council chief executive Kevin O'Keefe, Dudley College principal Neil Thomas and Helen Martin of Dudley Regeneration & Enterprise.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick in Dudley with Councillor Patrick Harley, Andrew Lovett from Black Country Museum, council chief executive Kevin O'Keefe, Dudley College principal Neil Thomas and Helen Martin of Dudley Regeneration & Enterprise.

The final allocations of the Government's Town Deals saw Dudley receive £25m and Bloxwich £21.3m to invest in transport, infrastructure and skills.

The cash brings the total amount allocated in the West Midlands to more than £300m, with previous recipients including Wolverhampton, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, West Bromwich and Walsall.

Dudley's funding will support the creation of the town's new university centre off Tipton Road, which is a key part of the local authority's £1bn regeneration masterplan.

It will pay for the majority of the £36m higher education complex at Castle Hill, which is being built in partnership with Dudley College and the University of Worcester and will sit next to the Marches Institute of Technology and the Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre.

Meanwhile, Walsall council chiefs are set to push the button on a number of plans for Bloxwich.

They include the refurbishment of heritage buildings on the King George V Memorial Playing Field site to bring them into "economic" use, such as creating a skills training facility and a community cafe.

A scheme to boost digital connectivity through an "incubation unit" for residents and business start-ups in the town will also launch.

The funding was announced by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP during a visit to both towns.

He said: “It was great to visit Bloxwich and Dudley to witness their ambitious plans to spend £46.3 million Government investment to revitalise their town centres.

“This funding will support the creation of a new university centre in Dudley, unlocking new opportunities locally. It will also support local businesses, boost digital connectivity in Bloxwich and create new public spaces to promote better health and wellbeing in the community.

“We have given 15 town deals to places across the West Midlands also including Telford and Wolverhampton, totalling £300 million, to ensure the region is at the forefront of our drive to level up every part of the country.”

Mr Jenrick said the cash would also prove to be a spur for further economic growth across the region.

"Coming out of the pandemic we are focusing on our economic recovery and the Government wants to keep backing the Black Country by investing in infrastructure, skills, culture and regeneration," he added.

"Skills and investment from the private sector are extremely important, because what will really power our recovery will not be public sector investment, it will be getting really good jobs into places like Bloxwich and Dudley."

Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes, the Minister for Rough Sleeping, said the funding would make a "tremendous difference" to people in Bloxwich.

He said: "If you look at the incubation unit, we have got businesses that are desperate for premises and the connectivity and support that goes with it, so they can grow and develop.

"We've got a good entrepreneurial spirit in the town. That needs a focus, and we are bringing that focus.

Across the country 101 places have now received Town Fund cash totalling £2.4bn.

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