Tamworth Borough Council has been awarded an incredible £21.65m from the Future High Streets Fund which will be used to deliver the biggest transformation to Tamworth town centre in a generation.
The award, from the Government’s £1bn fund to renew and reshape town centres, will deliver a number of projects designed to create a town centre that meets the needs of 21st century residents, shoppers and visitors.
It will bring town centre landowners, businesses, councils and other partners together, working on the common goal of reshaping the town centre into a place that Tamworth residents are proud of, that is economically successful and that draws visitors from around the country.
Tamworth is one of 15 towns announced as receiving full funding – the £21.65m is one of the largest amounts awarded - alongside a further 57 areas which have received provisional offers of funding.
The application was based on an in-depth business case of specific projects, which will be revealed in the New Year once the council has had chance to speak to the various landowners, businesses and partners involved in the successful bid.
Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, Cllr Daniel Cook, said: “What a phenomenal Christmas present! This is amazing news for Tamworth and is a great way to end what has otherwise been a difficult and challenging year.
“Our successful bid will enable us to make long-lasting structural changes which recognise the evolving role of town centres as places for enterprise, leisure and living, as well as retail.
“We put forward three options based on different funding amounts and we’re over the moon that we have been awarded the funds to deliver our ‘ideal world’ scenario, which is more than we could have hoped for.
“Together these projects will raise skills and innovation, remove vacant retail floor space, boost the local economy, unlock opportunities for the community and further investment and provide a lasting legacy for the future of the town centre.
“Those are the headlines, but what it means in reality is creating a town centre that hopefully the people of Tamworth will be proud of. We know the town centre in its current format is struggling, as are all town centres, and needs to change.
“We consulted far and wide with the residents and businesses of Tamworth as part of our ‘Tamworth, What’s Next?’ project and the views given helped to inform the projects put forward in our bid for the Future High Streets Fund application process.
“On a personal note, making a real and lasting difference to the town centre was one of my main goals as Leader of this council. I’m delighted that we’ve won the funding to do this just as I prepare to step down from the role early next year. I couldn’t be happier that this will be one of my lasting legacies. I’d like to thank all those involved in pulling this bid together for their hard work.”
Cllr Jeremy Oates, Cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, said: “This award is a once in a generation opportunity for Tamworth! I am really grateful to all those who have worked on and contributed to this bid.
“The proposed projects are ambitious and transformational, they are not small or cosmetic; they’re designed to create innovation, skills and a new purpose for the town centre that we hope will change its fortunes for the long-term. It’s also very unique and innovative as it brings various landowners, landlords, businesses and organisations together to work in partnership in delivering something that is going to really put Tamworth on the map.
“The project will be a huge piece to the jigsaw and will contribute to what is already going on to revitalise the town centre and is a real game changer in bringing it all together. We’ve already redeveloped the Enterprise Quarter, in a £6.2m project including the refurbishment of Tamworth Assembly Rooms, the creation of the hugely successful Enterprise Centre and the pending transformation of the Carnegie Centre into a restaurant.
“Tamworth Castle is getting ready to open a brand new £768,000 Anglo-Saxon gallery with Mead Hall next spring, which means we can celebrate our Mercian heritage, while creating a town centre fit for the 21st century. Plans are also progressing for the redevelopment of the Gungate Precinct site.
“This award from the Future High Streets Fund will create the links across our town centre by sorting out the part in the middle, and ensure that the whole town centre gets significant transformation.”
Chief Executive of Tamworth Borough Council, Andrew Barratt, said: “This award from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is absolutely fantastic news for the town and represents an amazing opportunity to redevelop and regenerate the town centre in a way that will protect and enhance it for the future.
“The fact we have been awarded such a large amount of money is testament to the hard work that has gone on for many months behind the scenes to prepare the funding bid. I would like to congratulate and thank all those involved in preparing the bid, including the team at Tamworth Borough Council, consultants Aspinall Verdi and the landowners, businesses and other partners, for their hard work and innovative thinking.
“As it’s the festive period, we haven’t had chance to speak to the partners yet about the news, but as soon as we do, we will be able to reveal more details about the exciting plans in store. We now look forward to getting the project underway in what will be a positive start to 2021 for the town centre and local economy.”
For more information, see the Future High Streets Fund announcement from the Government's Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.