Nick Abell

Over £23 million could be invested in two Warwickshire towns to revitalise their town centres and protect jobs.

Nuneaton and Leamington are among 57 towns and cities in the UK to receive the proposed offers from the Government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), having been shortlisted last year and asked to present detailed business cases.

The result is that Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced Nuneaton could receive £13,362,736 and Leamington a total of £10,015,121 from the Future High Streets Fund.

Nick Abell, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said the local councils are working with the Government to secure the funding to boost their areas.

He said: “This is welcome news from the Government to support areas to recover from Covid-19 and to help town centres become vibrant places to live, work and shop.

“This funding would also protect and create jobs and drive long-term economic growth by helping Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and Warwick District Council to deliver their ambitious regeneration plans as we start to rebuild our economy and recover from the pandemic.

“We would really welcome this further financial help for these areas where we have already invested since it will complement the funding already secured and will help with our efforts to reset the economy.”

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and its partners are now putting forward detailed proposals to transform locations as part of the Abbey Street Development, provide further security for town centre sites against the threat of flooding from the River Anker, and help deliver the ambitious ‘Bridge to Living’ scheme in the town centre which are part of the Transforming Nuneaton vision.

Cllr Julie Jackson, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council leader and board director at the CWLEP, said: “We want what is best for both our town centres, and Government has a big role to play in helping provide the funding we need.

“We await details of the next stage of these proposals, but look forward to working with partners and the Ministry on the very best outcomes that we can create for our town.

“This announcement is further evidence that our town and our council, with its partners, can bring forward major investment projects like this one, for the benefit of everyone who lives, works, visits and invests here.

“Transforming Nuneaton is a bold initiative, and we believe the vision sets out a clear way forward that will bring benefits for the whole borough.

“We have not forgotten Bedworth and when the next funding opportunities arise, we will actively put in a bid to ensure we maximise our borough’s whole potential.”

Warwick District Council has joined forces with Warwickshire County Council and Complex Development Projects to deliver a programme of activity that will enable a creative and connected town centre following consultation with local stakeholders including Leamington Chamber of Trade, Leamington Town Council and BID Leamington.

The funding would lead to the transformation of locations north and south of the river and reconnect key locations to the town centre as well as deliver the Town Centre Vision and aspirations for a Creative Quarter. This includes regenerating the United Reform Church and enhancing Spencer Yard, increasing town centre connectivity and transforming the Town Hall into a creative hub that will act as a beacon for creativity.

Cllr Andrew Day, leader of Warwick District Council and CWLEP board director, added: “This is an amazing opportunity for Leamington Town Centre to secure £10m to help it become the town centre fit for the future. We look forward to learning the details of this opportunity, and working with our partners at the County Council, CDP and Leamington Spa Town Council to ensure this delivers a connected and creative town centre.”