A vision to improve communications, infrastructure and connectivity in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been given the go-ahead by Central Government and awarded £23.6 million to make the plans a reality.
The success of the Town Investment Plan (TIP) is the most recent confirmation of the Government’s confidence in Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s aspirational Town Deal proposals which, so far, have seen more than £50 million invested in unprecedented regeneration programmes for Newcastle and Kidsgrove. This includes a successful funding bid of £11 million secured through the Future High Streets Fund.
It is believed that the projects outlined in the TIP will generate an increase of more than £69 million a year in increased gross value added (GVA) for the area, a £2.3 million uplift in land values and will enable the regeneration of communities across the borough.
The Leader of the Borough Council, Simon Tagg, said: “This is yet more fantastic investment for the government in our town and builds significantly on the exciting improvements already underway in Newcastle – funded by £1 million of advanced Town Deal funding – such as the subways upgrade, CCTV extension and the demolition of a long-term vacant building to make way for accommodation for residents and businesses among other things.
“The TIP is a shared local vision of where we want our town to be in the future. Our ambition is to create a more attractive place to live and work, and to support our local economy, creating more jobs for more people and attracting investment and businesses into the area. The £23.6 million will kick start a programme of investment that will ultimately total more than £135 million. It will provide transformational change, improve infrastructure and connectivity for communities, improve transport links and boost our heritage and culture.”
Newcastle set up a Town Deal Board to help develop the TIP. Professor Trevor McMillan, the Chair of the Town Deal Board, representing Keele University and Stoke Staffs LEP, said: “The news of this investment is a real testimony to the Deal’s ambition to develop and support communities across the borough and increase the prosperity of the area. The projects that form part of this will benefit many people and set Newcastle out as an area that is preparing itself well for the new digital and sustainable world we now need to live in, while supporting a real sense of physical communities in the town centre and surrounding villages.”
The TIP sets out in three key objectives, with projects aligned to them, how the Town Deal funding will be spent, what it will achieve and also how the £23.6 million will bring in other investment to the area.
- Objective 1 – Open up growth opportunities through enhanced physical and digital connectivity aligned with clean and sustainable economic development.
Smart Newcastle Digital Connectivity new digital infrastructure will give better access to services, employment and other digital services for residents and businesses.
A new Digital Society Centre will help improve digital skills for our communities and will provide grow-on space for businesses, building on the Smart Newcastle Digital Connectivity Project.
Sustainable public transport solutions will allow investment in a new sustainable bus fleet to provide low carbon buses to reduce emissions and address air quality issues in Newcastle. All existing bus shelters will be upgraded to become SMART and solar powered, use real time passenger information (RTPI), have USB charging points and LED shelter lights, all powered by a solar panel. This will include routes through Keele University, Royal Stoke Hospital and all bus shelters across Knutton, Chesterton and Silverdale.
Town Centre Permeability will see £1 million invested in upgrading the crossing on Barracks Road and improving town centre cycle access routes. Outside of the ring road, the project would include resurfacing, a new footbridge and way finding signage. The project will lead to a co-ordinated walking/cycling corridor between Keele University and Newcastle town centre, improving sustainable transport connectivity.
A new Electric Charging Infrastructure across the borough will support the transition to electric vehicles by 2030, and help address air quality issues in transport corridors.
- Objective 2 – To diversify and enhance the town centre experience by encouraging new uses to increase demand, footfall and boost the dwell time of residents and visitors.
A new Digital Society Centre in the town centre will provide space for SMEs to improve skill levels including areas such as digital skills, data analytics and artificial intelligence. The centre will bring together the assets of Keele University, and the Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, and will complement the proposed town centre-based “Institute of Technology” as well as the “Living Lab” in Keele’s new IC7 Innovation centre.
Investment in town centre gateways will include the demolition and redevelopment of the former Zanzibar nightclub by Aspire Housing and the demolition of the Midway multi-storey car park to make way for new homes for key workers and young professionals as well as extra care accommodation.
The Astley Centre for Circus and Performing Arts will be a new, dedicated Centre for Circus in the town centre that will open up opportunities in creativity, education, tourism and heritage and build on the reputation of the town for culture and heritage.
- Objective 3 – To channel investment into regenerating communities, ensuring these areas are sustainable places to live and provide residents with the infrastructure needed to improve their quality of life.
Putting the Heart back into Knutton with Town Deal funding allowing the first stages of the Knutton Masterplan with the delivery of 240 new homes, improvements to business accommodation, a new village hall and village green and improvements to road safety.
Like Knutton, Town Deal investment in Chesterton will enable delivery of high quality, housing for the local community linking to Aspire Housing’s wider estate regeneration plan to improve the existing housing.
The Newcastle Town Deal Board comprises representatives from the public, private, voluntary, education and community sectors. For more information about the board, please use this link: https://tinyurl.com/2euty7y5
A total of 101 places were selected to work with the Government and agree a Town Deal, including Newcastle-under-Lyme. Kidsgrove has already been awarded £16.9 million for a range a major projects focusing on driving growth and opportunity through enhanced enterprise infrastructure, creating a connected and accessible town centre which links key assets, retains heritage, promotes active travel and drives new demand and footfall; and maximising leisure and recreational opportunities.
The Town Deal for Kidsgrove is on top of £750,000 of advanced funding currently being spent on boosting residents’ health and well-being, including a state-of-the-art pump track at Newchapel recreation ground, a range of improvements at Clough Hall Park and the refurbishment of Kidsgrove sports centre.
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