Council reveals plans for new school, swimming pool and homes in £80m funding bid

Sandwell Council has submitted four bids for up to £80 million in Government cash to transform parts of the borough.

West Bromwich is part of Sandwell Council's plans for levelling up funding
West Bromwich is part of Sandwell Council's plans for levelling up funding

Bosses have put forward four schemes to the Levelling Up Fund they say will "boost local spending and job creation" and support communities in Sandwell.

The £4 billion fund allows local authorities to bid for up to £20m for schemes in each parliamentary constituency.

The West Bromwich West bid is for new homes and commercial premises in Tipton town centre, while for Halesowen & Rowley Regis a full revamp of Haden Hill Leisure Centre – including a new swimming pool – has been put forward.

Warley's bid centres around proposals for 150 homes and a new primary school on an old industrial site at Grove Lane, Smethwick.

A new youth hub will be created in West Bromwich if the West Bromwich East bid is successful.

The schemes have been agreed by the council's ruling Cabinet and MPs. They will be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up on July 6, with a decision expected in the autumn.

Councillor Peter Hughes, Sandwell Council’s regeneration chief, said: "In making big decisions at Cabinet on important issues like the Levelling Up Fund, the council is moving quickly to deliver projects that will support high-priority projects that will make a real, visible, positive difference in Sandwell."

The fund is now in its second round. In last year's first round Wolverhampton Council was the only Black Country authority to bid for funding, landing £20m for a new learning quarter.

Wolverhampton has a further two bids planned this year. Dudley Council has been criticised by Tory MP Marco Longhi after it emerged the authority was only planning to submit two out of a possible four bids.

Meanwhile Sandwell Council has confirmed that ministers have approved its final Towns Fund projects, with three schemes in West Bromwich signed off this week.

The authority has secured £67.5m from the fund, which is directed at town centre regeneration projects and struggling areas.

It covers five projects in Rowley Regis (£19m); five in Smethwick (£23.5m); and six in West Bromwich (£25m).

The last three projects in West Bromwich will see the restoration of the Town Hall and Central Library buildings. Another scheme will see an improved retail in the town centre, including a new indoor market and homes.

Cycling and walking routes will also be created.

Jude Thompson, chair of Towns Fund Superboard, said: “These projects will make a real difference in and around West Bromwich, the aim will be to improve these areas making them a more sociable and welcoming environment for the local community and visitors.

"West Bromwich Town Centre has undergone changes over the last decade and these projects will only continue to improve the experience of visiting the town.

"The regeneration of historical buildings will help keep the identity of the town preserving it for future generations."

Councillor Hughes said: "The funding will benefit local people and businesses, and reinforce the borough’s strategic advantage as a business location, by improving transport links, boosting learning and training opportunities, and enhancing West Bromwich town centre."

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