In our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), GBSLEP sets out the objective to ‘develop thriving towns and local centres’. This objective recognises that, whilst Birmingham as a regional core city provides a natural focal point for increasing growth and investment, the surrounding towns and local centres also form a crucial part of the economic fabric of the region. However, our town and local centres face challenges to their competitiveness as they make the transition from a retail dominated core to wider social hubs that can offer a variety of opportunities including leisure, culture, and residential. This will require carefully targeted investment to ensure that they can remain vibrant and can support the wider growth of Greater Birmingham.
We are therefore developing a Towns and Local Centres (TLC) Strategy that will take a co-ordinated view of regeneration activity in towns and local centres across the GBSLEP area, ensuring maximum benefit from the range of projects being delivered, and thereby helping to deliver the growth ambitions set out in the SEP. This approach recognises the GBSLEP area as an eco-system: whilst Birmingham is the focal point, the surrounding towns and local centres provide distinct, complementary, and supporting offers to the city centre.
We have brought together a small project group to take forward the TLC Strategy work. This includes key players within regeneration in the area, but will also call on specialist advice and support from other partners and experts throughout the process.
As we develop the strategy – due for completion in early 2018 – we will also develop an investment package to support new opportunities in our towns and local centres, ensuring that they can play their part in our ongoing economic success story. More details on this TLC fund will be published at the appropriate time.