An update on the ambitious £500 million plan to transform Nuneaton has been given to businesses in the region.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its latest North Warwickshire Branch meeting online and heard from John McGuigan, of Transforming Nuneaton, on how plans were moving forward to regenerate the built environment in the town centre but also change its perception.

The far-reaching plan includes creating new uses for the town centre including health, education, transport, leisure, residential and culture as well as retail.

McGuigan said a flexible masterplan had been drawn up and that there was potentially £100 million of public sector funding available to support Transforming Nuneaton with the town in the running for several Government funding pots as well as investment by both Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council and other public agencies.

He said that the rest would have to be made up by the private sector and that now was the time for firms in the area to get behind the plan.

Queensberry, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council’s development partner for the Abbey Street site, will shortly be publicising its proposals as the first step towards planning approval and work starting on this site in mid-2021.

Funding for a new business support centre and library and major upgrading to the ring road have recently been approved, and financial support has been generated from many public sector agencies.

McGuigan said: “The last time I reported to the Chamber, it was very much a case of saying the kind of things we hoped to do as part of the Transforming Nuneaton project. Now, the conversation has moved on and we can say ‘this is what we are doing’ and, despite Covid-19, we are making progress.

“There is still an incredibly long way to go but we really want businesses in the region to get behind what we are doing. The potential for Nuneaton as a modern, forward-looking town is enormous.

“When you look at its location and the transport links, it can be the sub-regional hub for north Coventry, north Warwickshire, west Leicester and south Staffordshire via rail.

“The opportunity is huge and it’s time we really started to talk up the potential for Nuneaton as a great place to do business and to live and work.

“We’d also like to hear directly from companies on the patch on what they want to see in the plans. If there is something we need to be doing to attract investment, then tell us.”

Tom Mongan, the chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s North Warwickshire Branch, said: “As a Chamber, we are whole-heartedly behind Transforming Nuneaton.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to create a town centre that can offer people opportunities for both employment and for leisure.

“It recognises that our town centres are having to change and adapt to fresh challenges and this plan is ready to meet them head on.”