Final bid for high street funds submitted

Tamworth Borough Council has submitted its final bid for funding to the Future High Streets Fund in the hope of winning millions of pounds to spend on town centre regeneration.

If successful, the town could be in line to receive an allocation of several million pounds from the £1bn fund which has been made available.

Under the fund criteria, projects have to deliver structural changes to the high street, which could include investment in physical infrastructure, acquisition of land, supporting change of use and adaptation of the high street in response to changing technology.

The Tamworth business case focuses on physical regeneration schemes which move away from traditional town centre uses and look at reducing large vacant retail floor space in favour of community and social benefits. There is also a focus on enhancing the town’s heritage, bringing empty buildings back into use and improving access between the town and its neighbouring Castle Grounds.

Tamworth was given £150,000 to develop the business case, which was carried out with support from external regeneration experts Aspinall Verdi.

Tamworth is one of 100 shortlisted towns which were chosen to progress their bids for a share of the £1bn after submitting an initial expression of interest last year.

Cllr Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council’s cabinet member for heritage and growth, said: “We’ve thrown everything at this and have done all we can. It’s now in the hands of the government and all we can do is wait and hope they like our projects and award us the funding. We know people will be eager to hear the plans, but as the bid involves commercially sensitive proposals and private sector partnerships, we’re not in a position to say more at the moment. Hopefully our bid will be successful and we can get to work on making the changes happen. The Government intends to announce successful bids in the autumn, and if we’re among them, work will begin immediately.

“At the same time, we’re also progressing our plans for the redevelopment of the Gungate Precinct site and will be sharing potential options for its future with members of the public soon.”