Towns in the East Midlands will share £145m in Towns Deals cash after the government revealed 26 locations that would be receiving funding to boost their local economies, create jobs and help them build back better from the pandemic.
Receiving money in the region are Corby (£19.9m), Long Eaton (£24.8m), Loughborough (£16.9m), Ashfield – joint Kirkby & Sutton (£62.6m), and Stapleford (£21.1m).
The Loughborough Town Deal Board today (June 8) welcomed the announcement by government that its Towns Fund bid had been successful and said the investment would help unlock Loughborough’s amazing potential.
The deal represents one of the biggest single public sector investments in the town and its communities for many years. With funding from other sources, the Loughborough Town Deal will bring in tens of millions of pounds of investment to the town.
The Loughborough Town Deal Board worked with local businesses and residents on its investment plan which aims to create a “Loughborough for All” and make the town a better-connected place where people will want to live, learn, work, and grow.
Cllr Jonathan Morgan, co-chair of the Town Deal Board and leader of Charnwood Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Loughborough. The Town Deal investment will significantly boost the area’s recovery from the pandemic by creating jobs, improving skills and making Loughborough a better-connected place where people want to live, work and visit.
“The town is brimming with potential and the Loughborough Town Deal is the key to unlocking it. I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in developing the Town Deal bid and we must now seize this incredible opportunity for Loughborough.”
Dr Nik Kotecha, co-chair of the Town Deal Board, said: “This successful bid is not only a victory for Loughborough, but also for the amazing collaboration that went into putting together the investment plan.
“We have involved many organisations, businesses and residents from across Loughborough to identify what holds the town back and what we can do to overcome that. The resulting investment plan sets out how we will make Loughborough a better place for everyone.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported the Loughborough Town Deal so far and I look forward to that continuing.”
Commenting on Ashfield’s £62.6m for Kirkby & Sutton, Matthew Relf, Cabinet Member for Place, Planning and Regeneration said: “This is fantastic news for Sutton, Kirkby, the whole of Ashfield and the wider region.
“I am very proud of the ambitious bid that we put together and this funding, together with the £6.27m secured from Future High Streets for Sutton town centre provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to make a real and long lasting change in the area.
“I would like to thank all our partners from the Discover Ashfield Board for their time and effort. I would like to thank Lee Anderson MP for supporting this bid in Parliament.
“I reserve special praise though for the officers of the Council who have worked tirelessly on the bids and the brilliant residents of Ashfield who engaged with us in their hundreds to feedback to us on projects and to support the bid.”
The investment in Kirkby & Sutton will deliver jobs and further education opportunities, long-term economic and productivity growth, new homes, improved transport infrastructure, reduced carbon and new cultural and visitor facilities.
The investment plan focuses on four areas:
Business and education – The centrepiece of the plan is an Automated Distribution and Manufacturing Centre to create a national centre of excellence focussed on promoting and providing access to the latest technologies and best practice in automated distribution. Two new education centres will provide opportunities for qualifications in construction and civil engineering. At Kirkby and Sutton libraries there will be new innovation centres which will support residents with digital skills, helping them access digital services, learn new skills and adapt to new ways of working.
Health and wellbeing – A new Kirkby Health Hub and Sports Hubs at Kingsway Park and Sutton Lawn will give residents greater access to healthier lifestyles and help improve local health outcomes.
Boost visitor economy – A new Planetarium and Science Discovery Centre at Sherwood Observatory will help inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers across the region. A new leisure facility at Kings Mill Reservoir will offer a range of new water sports attractions for visitors from across the region. A network of cycling and walking routes across the area will connect visitor attractions, homes and places of work.
Make Ashfield Greener – The gateway area around Kirkby train station will be developed to provide better access to the station and interchange to buses and the new cycle/walking network to promote use of more sustainable forms of transport, as well as programme to fit existing buildings with solar and other green energy sources.
Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council said: “I am over the moon that Ashfield has received this funding. We are at the beginning of an exciting programme of projects which will deliver jobs, new homes, improved health service and visitor attractions.
“As well as the exciting plans in place for Sutton and Kirkby, we will continue to work with the Discover Ashfield Board and other partners to identify and develop plans for Hucknall and the Rural areas. We want to ensure that the whole district benefits from new facilities and services and we are ready to take advantage of funding opportunities as they emerge.”
Today’s announcement means that 79 Towns Deals have now been agreed – totalling over £2 billion investment in communities across England.