This week’s budget announcement that Cannock Chase Council is to be allocated £20m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) programme has been positively received as `huge boost` to the Council’s ambitious plans to rejuvenate its Cannock town centre.
The money allocated follows a successful round 1 of bids to the LUF and is for `Cannock Town Centre Regeneration`. Cannock is one of 107 successful bids from across the UK to share in £1.7bn of funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The Council submitted its bid earlier this year within a 12-week period and is keen to continue to engage with residents and businesses to help shape its thinking on the proposed regeneration.
It is encouraging people to view its online consultation and virtual exhibition called `A brighter future for Cannock town centre – welcome to our virtual exhibition` to share information, leave feedback and indicate their support for the visuals produced. This can be found at https://vpc.tetratecheurope.com/engage/cannockchase/
The consultation seeks feedback across four key themes: Leisure & Culture Offer, Connectivity (or getting around), Business & Skills Workspace and the Removal of Eyesores & Celebration of Assets. There is also a poll to participate in.
Welcoming the funding Councillor Phil Hewitt, Portfolio Leader for Innovation and High Streets said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive news of this funding. This will enable the Council and its partners to transform the town centre.
“There has been so much talk about the high street being dead, but we want to show that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. This will enable us to address the multi-storey car park, a current eyesore, and enhance areas such as Church Street.
“Our successful bid was classed as category 2 (medium) which makes this achievement even more pleasing. Furthermore, it needed to be capable of delivery within the specified timescales and budget the Government set in its prospectus and meet its cost-benefit ratio in order to attract support.
“The bid was built on previous work undertaken by the Council when it unsuccessfully bid for the Future High Streets Fund when it also focussed on Cannock town centre. This was considered to be the only regeneration scheme developed sufficiently enough to stand any chance of attracting Government funding. We appreciate that work is needed in all our towns, the Council is now developing a pipeline of projects to ensure we are ready to utilise future opportunities.
“We have worked collaboratively with key partners to secure this money, including with specialist consultants, the County Council, both Local Enterprise Partnerships, lobbying Government ministers and our local MP, and others to secure the necessary funding.
“Having now succeeded, we are keen to hear from local people about our vision to transform the town centre. By viewing and feeding back on the proposals it will help the Council shape the ultimate detailed designs we will produce over the coming months, followed by delivering the regeneration improvements we want to make.”
The allocation from the Government follows the significant private sector investment already made in the District by private investors and reflects the changing nature and potential of the area.
Photograph: Artist’s impression for the Leisure & Culture Offer Key Theme within the Council’s successful bid.