We know the role of town centres is changing and that they must evolve if they are to meet the needs of shoppers and visitors in the 21st century, not only to survive, but to thrive.
While the town centre has always been high on the agenda for Tamworth Borough Council, this commitment was renewed in 2019, with a new strategic priority –
to ‘create a new and developing vision for the continued evolution of Tamworth, including a town centre fit for the 21st century’.
Tamworth Borough Council wants to restore Tamworth town centre as the beating heart of the community; a place that people want to visit, rather than a place they have to visit.
The journey started with a widespread public engagement campaign called ‘Tamworth…What’s Next? to find out the views and ideas of Tamworth’s residents, businesses and visitors.
Hundreds of people took part by filling out survey forms and attending a series of workshops with the then Leader of the Council.
Top ten ideas received
We took all of that feedback and used it to frame our new aspirations for the town centre, while accepting the barriers and challenges around market demand and what we, as a council, have the power to influence.
We had already started the process with the £6.2m regeneration of the Enterprise Quarter in the Corporation Street area of the town.
Next we purchased the former Gungate Precinct site – a key town centre location which wasn’t being used to its full potential. We are in the process of exploring how the area can be unlocked and regenerated.
We then successfully applied for funding from the Future High Streets Fund. The proposals we put forward, based on feedback from the public, secured us £21.65m investment – one of the highest awards made to any town centre in England.
We have also invested heavily in Tamworth Castle and Grounds to help put the town on the map as a prime visitor destination, including a new Anglo Saxon exhibition, augmented reality trail and brand new adventure playground.
These plans are already having an impact and we have seen several new businesses open in the town centre in recent months.