£20 Million Investment Unveiled for County Durham’s Spennymoor
County Durham's Spennymoor is set to receive a substantial £20 million injection over the next decade. This is aimed at rejuvenating its high street and addressing issues of anti-social behavior. This funding is part of a comprehensive initiative encompassing over 50 "underlooked" towns across the UK. An overall investment of £1 billion is supported by the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Sunak emphasized the importance of channeling resources directly into the hands of local communities. This ambitious plan spans a wide range of priorities. It includes revitalizing commercial hubs, combatting anti-social conduct, upgrading transportation, bolstering tourism and therefore nurturing local economies.
Mr Sunak highlighted the significance of towns as the heart of communities, expressing concern over the historical focus on cities to the detriment of towns. This initiative, he contends, marks a shift toward rectifying the issues that have led to half-empty high streets, dilapidated shopping centers, and increased anti-social behavior.
To facilitate this endeavor, each town will establish a town board, uniting community leaders, employers, local authorities, and the local Member of Parliament, all working collaboratively to construct a well-informed plan through public consultation. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) will empower these town boards with a range of regeneration tools, complemented by the newly allocated funding.
Furthermore, officials are exploring avenues for private-sector investment. This includes repurposing vacant high street properties, revising licensing regulations for shops and eateries, and supporting urban housing developments. Additionally, the plan aims to address community preferences. This involves the creation of green spaces and market days, along with implementing measures to heighten public safety.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove underscored the enduring values of hard work and solidarity found within British towns, advocating for a renaissance of these vital communities. He emphasized that the Long-Term Plan for Towns, backed by substantial funding, will empower localities to take charge of their destinies. Click here to see the Program Investment Plan from Durham County Council.
This initiative incorporates a Towns Taskforce situated within the Department for Levelling Up. They are directly advising the Prime Minister and Mr. Gove on strategy and policy implementation. Funding allocation is determined based on the Levelling Up Needs Index, taking into account metrics encompassing skills, wages, productivity, and health, alongside the Index of Multiple Deprivation to ensure resources are directed where they are most needed. Click here to see the full methodology note which has been published.
Scotland and Wales
In the case of Scotland and Wales, the government will work closely with local councils and devolved administrations to ascertain the most effective way to extend benefits under this proposal. Furthermore, discussions are underway regarding support for Northern Ireland's towns.
Angela Rayner, Labour's shadow levelling up secretary, expressed skepticism about the government's promises, citing past controversies over fund allocation. She emphasized a commitment to redistributing power, wealth, and opportunity across the country.
The comprehensive list of 55 towns set to receive £20 million in funding includes:
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