Marches LEP investment driving ‘new era’ for town centres

A multi-million pound investment in town and city centres across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin is helping to herald a new era for the region, the partnership’s deputy chair said today.

Sonia Roberts says the Marches LEP has been a key champion of the region’s historic town centres in the ten years since it was formed – investing tens of millions of pounds to help create thriving local economies and support further, sustainable growth.

And Sonia said that by working in tandem with the LEP’s partners, all involved had been able to achieve more than if they were working alone.

The LEP is marking the ten years since it was formed by highlighting the comprehensive way it has helped transform the economy of the region – and tens of thousands of people’s lives – during a decade of delivery.

Sonia said: “The LEP is keenly aware that places are a key asset for our economy. Businesses and people locate and flourish in places that are well connected, offer a high quality of life and where people have the skills those businesses need.

“For this reason, sustained and strategic investment in those centres has formed a core part of the LEP’s work over the last decade.”

Examples of this investment include:

· £16million to the Hereford City Centre Transport Package. This Growth Deal investment is enabling the development of vital transport improvements, public realm improvements on key routes into the city centre and helping to create new and improved cycling infrastructure. The project has so far delivered 803 jobs and 107 homes – with a total of 800 homes expected to be met over the lifetime of the project.

· £3million from the Getting Building Fund has also been invested in a £6million project to improve Hereford City Centre, helping to boost footfall, improve air and travel quality and creating a modern city centre environment. The project will create 90 new jobs and support the development of 100 new homes.

· £5million from the Getting Building Fund for the Pride Hill centre in Shrewsbury to support its economic growth and regeneration in partnership with Shropshire Council. The investment is being used to fund enabling works to repurpose the Pride Hill centre for leisure, cultural and civic use to secure a sustainable future and contribute positively to Shrewsbury as a quality destination for residents and visitors. The project will create 100 new jobs and a further 150 construction jobs.

· £6million of Growth Deal funding as part of the £12.183m Shrewsbury Integrated

Transport Package, which included road improvements, traffic management measures in the town centre, enhancements to the public realm and pedestrian and cycle links and improved signposting for shoppers and visitors. To date the project has created just over 100 new jobs and delivered 1,033 new homes. Over the lifetime of the project, and as a result of the funding, the SITP project should deliver 2,499 new homes and create 1,663 new jobs.

· £7.6million of Growth Deal funding to the Stronger Communities Regeneration Sites project which is transforming part of Telford Town Centre around the railway station, developing parts of Donnington and helping regenerate the ‘opportunity’ market town of Wellington. In total the project will create 60 new jobs, 541 homes and will unlock three new acres of employment land.

· £1.3million from Growth Deal towards a £1.9m project to improve Telford town centre bus station. The project was a key element of the overall development strategy for Telford Town Centre and supported the Telford Shopping Centre masterplan. It aims to unlock 8,800 sq m of retail development land and create 300 jobs at the site. To date the project has created 63 new jobs.

“Each of these projects – and much more of the work the LEP has been involved with – is helping create town centres which are both attractive and commercially successful, but which will also serve their communities for years to come.

“I have no doubt that without the work the LEP has been able to fund, our towns would not have been as resilient as they proved to be during the pandemic, and would not have been in position to face the future as positively as they now can.

“By working so successfully with all our partners we have been able to herald a new era for our towns and certainly achieve far more together than we ever could working separately.”

Section: