An exciting package of capital projects worth £1.75 million is being delivered in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Kidsgrove town centres in the current financial year following confirmation of a government grant designed to boost economic growth.
Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, announced accelerated funding for both towns in the first round of the £3.6 billion Town Deal Fund which aims to support jobs and economic recovery.
More than 100 towns across England were invited to apply for a slice of £80 million to spend on specific projects that enhance or provide new parks/green spaces and sustainable transport links, and improve town centres, as well as demolition or site remediation where it would have an immediate benefit.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s approved application – which is in addition to a further funding bid for up to £25 million – outlines a variety of schemes totalling £1 million for Newcastle-under-Lyme and £750,000 for Kidsgrove.
- In Newcastle this involves: Demolishing the former Zanzibar nightclub. The derelict building, vacant for around 16 years, is situated on a key route into the town centre. The building was recently purchased by Aspire Housing who have plans to provide accommodation for older people as well as live/work units and small industrial units for start-up businesses and “move up” accommodation for incubator/innovation focused businesses.
- Kick starting social and market housing development in Knutton by purchasing a vacant site and demolishing the existing building.
- Renovating and converting a long-term vacant shop unit in Lancaster Building – the former Pike’s Jewellers – to accommodate a partnership employment and support service in a central and accessible location.
- Expanding a proposed e-scooter trial by increasing the number of scooters and charging points. Scooters would be provided in key locations including the town centre, Keele University, the Royal Stoke University Hospital, key employment sites and residential areas including disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
- Providing safer and more secure routes into the town centre by progressing design work for new crossings on the inner ring road where access is currently via subways which will be retained and enhanced with CCTV.
- Expanding free public Wi-Fi further to increase accessibility to online services. Coverage will be extended to Merrial Street, Corporation Street, Liverpool Road and the Ryecroft site that is subject to the Future High Streets Fund bid.
- In Kidsgrove, £750,000 is being spent to improve residents’ health and well-being. The money is being used to fund the stripping out and early works associated with the refurbishment of Kidsgrove Sports Centre, fill a gap in match funding to guarantee the
delivery of modern leisure facilities for the King’s School and the community, provide a series of improvements at Clough Hall Park including new gym equipment, the refurbishment of the main pavilion, demolition of the small pavilion and provision of CCTV, and install a BMX track and skate park at Newchapel recreation ground.
Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve been given this advanced and additional funding to kick start activity in Newcastle and Kidsgrove. It’s a fantastic opportunity to improve where we live, work and spend our leisure time while at the
same time boosting jobs and growing local economies. It’s very welcome news for communities following a very tough time due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The projects are very exciting and will deliver immediate and tangible benefits to both towns. This announcement is recognition of the great work carried out by the boards – which are represented by the private, public, community, voluntary and education sectors – and the lobbying of our local MPs.”