Homes and theatre schemes lined up under Walsall's £40m levelling up bid

More than 100 new homes will be built in a rundown part of Willenhall under £40 million regeneration plans.

Walsall Council has revealed details of its submissions for round two of the Government's levelling up fund.

A Walsall North bid for £20m focuses on two projects in Willenhall – works to enable around 111 new homes at Moat Street and Villiers Street and highway improvements to promote active travel.

Meanwhile a £19m bid for Walsall South aims to support the delivery of the council’s town centre theatre project, which will see the creation of a 1,000-seat arts, cultural and entertainment space bosses say will "regenerate the heart of the town and be accessible to the whole of the borough".

Each parliamentary constituency can bid for up to £20m from the £4.8billion levelling up fund, which is set aside for schemes aimed at driving prosperity and tackling economic differences.

Walsall Council's deputy leader, Councillor Adrian Andrew, said: "Although very different towns, Walsall and Willenhall face many similar challenges and these have become more apparent with people changing how they shop and work as a result of the pandemic.

"These exciting bids give us the opportunity to build on funding already secured and invest for the future."

Bosses say the Willenhall bid fits in with the vision for the town outlined earlier this year in a masterplan. It wants to regenerate derelict sites and reduce crime while seizing "economic growth opportunities" following the £54m investment in the new rail station.

Other councils have also submitted bids for funding.

Wolverhampton Council wants £40m for two schemes; a new health and wellbeing hub in Bilston and a 'green corridor' to boost links to the city's Springfield Campus.

Sandwell Council has bid for £80m for four projects, including homes in Tipton, a new leisure centre in Rowley Regis and a youth centre in West Bromwich.

In Dudley, a £20m bid has been submitted for a scheme to transform empty town centre buildings into accommodation, while another bid is for a college development in Halesowen.

It comes after Black Country local authorities were criticised earlier this year after it emerged that only one council – Wolverhampton – had submitted a bid in the first round of funding last year.

An announcement on the outcome of the bids is due this autumn.

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