New commercial space aimed at small businesses and a revamped public square to host events are among the proposals for a wholesale regeneration of a West Midlands town.
The work in Tamworth is aimed at increasing visitor numbers, capitalising on its heritage assets such as the famous castle and revitalising old commercial space.
It is being made possible after local council and business chiefs secured £21.6 million from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund last month as part of a wider award worth almost £146 million to the West Midlands.
The plans for Tamworth are:
– Development of flexible space for smaller, independent hospitality, leisure and retail businesses
– More affordable office space
– The transformation of St Editha’s Square into a multi-purpose events space
– Relocation of Tamworth College to a new town centre building
– Restoration of heritage features and buildings to be brought back into use
– Improved entrance between the town centre and the castle grounds
– Improvements to Middle Entry shopping precinct
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Tamworth secured the full amount of capital it was asking for from the Government which was also one of the highest awards made by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
All the projects will now be subject to contracts, design work, planning permission and further consultation.
Leader of Tamworth Borough Council Cllr Daniel Cook said: “In 2019, we ran the campaign ‘Tamworth What’s Next?’.
“This was a full consultation exercise with residents, businesses and the voluntary sector in regards improving the town centre and evolving it into a 21st century destination of choice.
“I stood in front of those who responded and promised I was pinning my name to finally getting the town centre going again.
“This is a great step forward and will see a fundamental change to our town’s reputation and offer.”
Growth and regeneration chief Cllr Jeremy Oates added: “These are ambitious plans (and) we know the high street has to change and adapt.
“If it all goes to plan, this project – together with the redevelopment of the Gungate precinct – will deliver on many of the themes Tamworth people told us were most important to them.”
The £1 billion Future High Streets Fund was first unveiled in the 2018 Budget and aims to renew and reshape town centres to drive growth and improve the visitor experience by overcoming local challenges.
Property regeneration consultancy Aspinall Verdi worked with the council to secure the funding.
Managing director Ben Aspinall said: “It’s incredibly rewarding to see the hard and collaborative work of Aspinall Verdi, our consultant partners, great local authority teams and passionate communities pay off by achieving successful bids.
“We are passionate about achieving sustainable economic development of our towns and cities so this funding is great news for these town centres as they look to redefine themselves to meet the needs of a post-pandemic world.”