Wyre Forest District Council has welcomed the news that its bid to the Government for funding to help Kidderminster town centre under the Future High Streets Fund initiative has been successful.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced the shortlist of bids that would progress to the next stage on Friday 5 July.
The Government announced the £675m initiative to support high streets in the 2018 Autumn Budget and applications were invited by March 2019 for the first stage which was to demonstrate the nature of the issues to be tackled in the town and what the vision was for transforming the centre to be fit for purpose in future. Wyre Forest District Council submitted its vision which was based around three principal projects – bringing the former Magistrates’ Court and indoor market back into an active mixed use, developing the Crown House and Bull Ring area as a gateway into the town and bringing forward the redevelopment of the Bromsgrove Street car park area.
Councillor Fran Oborski, Wyre Forest District Council Deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Planning and Capital Investments said:
“This was an extremely competitive bidding process and it’s wonderful news that we’ve been invited to progress to the next stage. We will now put together a full business case for the projects we’ve identified which will be transformative for Kidderminster town centre. This is excellent news, showing how Wyre Forest District Council has developed a compelling case for investment, and builds on the work the Council has been doing for some time to support our main town centre.”
Councillor Graham Ballinger, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council said:
“This Council is committed to supporting local economic growth across the district and successful town centres are key to a successful wider district economy. All major town centres are facing difficult challenges as the retail sector undergoes change and it is important to think creatively about what town centres of the future will be like in order to be successful. The Future High Streets Fund will ensure that Kidderminster is at the forefront of that change and we look forward to working with the Government on our projects.”
The announcement of the funding has also been welcomed by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.
Katie Trout, Director of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise said:
“We are delighted at the news that Kidderminster has been successful in moving to the next stage of the Future High Streets Fund competition. The success of towns and local centres across Greater Birmingham is critical to the economic fabric of our region, providing distinctive places for people to live, work and visit.
Supporting their success is one of GBSLEP’s key objectives, and we look forward to working with Wyre Forest District Council alongside MHCLG in developing their transformational plans further.”
The next stage will be for the Council to work with the newly appointed High Streets Task Force to develop the full business case for the bid and to secure a funding award that will enable the projects to progress.