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Sandwell to get £20m levelling-up money - one of two boroughs benefitting from new scheme

Sandwell is to receive £20 million from the Government as part of its 'levelling up' programme, Michael Gove has announced.

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Michael Gove announcing Levelling Up project at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery along with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, leader of Sandwell Council

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up was in Wednesbury on Thursday afternoon to announce the package of measures, which aim to improve opportunities in some of the country's most deprived areas.

Sandwell and Hull will be the two first authorities in the country to benefit from Levelling Up Partnerships, a scheme announced in the Chancellor's spring budget.

The schemes will see tailored regeneration plans targeted at 20 areas of the UK identified as being in the greatest need of support.

Of the £20 million package, £11.5 million will go towards helping deliver 650 new homes at a former sewage site at Friar Park.

Mr Gove said site would benefit from its proximity to transport links, including the new £6.5m new tram extension from Wednesbury to Dudley and Brierley Hill.

Michael Gove at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery

A further £4.5 million will be spent in Wednesbury town centre, installing new lighting, pedestrian areas, litter bins and greenery to help attract new businesses.

Another £2 million will be used to improve facilities at Millennium Community Centre, providing space for pop-up health advice points and £1.65 million for improving green spaces.

A spokesman for the department said the money would also help fund new closed-circuit television cameras and bollards to prevent motorcycles being used in pedestrian areas.

The cameras would help tackle problems with fly-tipping, the spokesman said.

Mr Gove said Sandwell's package was tailored to deal with the area's historically low educational attainment and health problems, the borough having the worst obesity rates for 10- and 11-year-olds in the country.

“Levelling Up Partnerships are about delivering long term solutions for local areas, working closely with communities on tailored interventions to overcome their unique challenges and seize new opportunities," he said.

“That’s why I’m thrilled to be announcing the first two Levelling Up Partnerships in Sandwell and Hull today backed by £40m of government funding.

“No matter where you live in the UK, everyone should be given the chance to stay local, but go far”.