£40m levelling up regeneration plans revealed

Credit: Sandwell Council

Sandwell and Hull have been named as the first areas to benefit from tailored regeneration plans by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

Both locations have received £20m each as part of the Levelling Up Partnerships (LUPs) announced in the Spring Budget. Twenty areas will be chosen in England and selected based on analysis set out in the Levelling Up White Paper which considered places against metrics such as educational attainment, gross pay, and life expectancy.

Sandwell’s LUP is tailored to the area’s historically low educational attainment and health outcomes – it has the highest rate of obesity for children in Year 6 in the country. Sandwell will be given £2m to improve facilities in the Millennium Community centre, providing space for pop-up health hubs and £1.65m going towards Wednesbury’s green spaces.

£11.5m will be used to deliver 650 homes in the vicinity of new transport infrastructure such as the West Midlands Metro extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.

Wednesbury is set to receive £4.5m to improve the quality of its town centre through installing new lighting, pedestrian areas, litter bins, and urban greening. As Sandwell has the highest rates of fly-tipping in the West Midlands, new CCTV will be installed alongside anti-nuisance motorbike measures, such as bollards in pedestrianised zones

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove said: “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”.

Hull will receive capacity funding support to attract private sector investment and enhance its waterfront area, with £10m being provided to remediate land at its East Bank.

Working closely with Hull City Council, DLUHC will invest in improved training facilities, including investing in the city’s colleges, which will train the next generation of workers to bring Hull to the cutting edge of the green energy sector.

DLUHC is looking to create the right facilities to support a growing community network. £1m will be available as a flexible funding pot, to ensure people can access public and community services closer to where they live.

West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor Andy Street said: “This Levelling Up Partnership delivers very welcome funding for local projects that will make a real difference in the lives of local people. That impact covers a wide range of areas including enhancing job prospects, reinvigorating town centres like Wednesbury, ensuring a better start in life for young people and providing opportunities to get more active in nearby green spaces.

“This funding will strengthen communities and boost economic growth. I’m particularly pleased to see more than £11m earmarked for the clean-up of the former sewage works at Friar Park – paving the way for a new urban village. The size of more than 32 football pitches, this is one of the largest brownfield sites in the country – set to be transformed with the construction of more than 600 new homes. The WMCA has been working closely with Sandwell Council on this scheme and this announcement is great news for the project.

“Local collaboration – in partnership with Government – will enable us to continue to change lives for the better right across our region in the months and years ahead.”

Details of LUPs with Bassetlaw, Mansfield, Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough are currently being established.