The first visible signs of action have appeared following a £750,000 Government windfall to boost residents’ health and well-being in Kidsgrove.

A scheme to upgrade a popular park in the town is the first among an exciting package of approved capital projects to get off the ground since an advanced Town Deal payment was officially announced by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in late September.

The first phase of work has now begun at Clough Hall Park which is focusing on improving drainage to solve long standing flooding issues affecting the footpaths and sporting facilities. Contractors are currently carrying out pipe repairs and installing new gulleys following initial work to address waterlogging on the rugby pitch.

The £125,000 project, scheduled to be completed by April 2021, also involves refurbishing the main pavilion – with new changing rooms, toilets and showers – demolishing the smaller, rundown pavilion and carrying out an online consultation exercise with residents shortly to identify possible future improvements as part of the same funding pot.

Accelerated funding for Kidsgrove, in addition to £1 million for Newcastle, comes ahead of further bids for up to £25 million for each area in the £3.6 billion Town Deal Fund which aims to boost economic growth.

More than 100 towns across England were invited to apply for a slice of £80 million at this first stage 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.

Councillor Trevor Johnson, Cabinet member for environment and recycling, said: “The advanced funding is absolutely brilliant news – especially in these difficult times – and presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend significant sums of money on a range of worthwhile projects in one financial year.

“A great deal of time and effort has gone into developing the individual projects so it’s great that they are now becoming a reality, starting with work to upgrade Clough Hall Park. Residents love the park but it’s in need of some tender loving care now which is why the improvements are going to make a huge difference.”

The other projects in Kidsgrove, which have been chosen by a board representing all sectors, include the stripping out and early works associated with the refurbishment of the sports centre, match funding to guarantee the delivery of modern community leisure facilities for the King’s School and the installation of a pump track at Newchapel recreation ground.

Councillor Jill Waring, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve where we live, work and spend our leisure time while boosting jobs and local economies. All of the projects in Kidsgrove will have such a big impact on residents’ health and well-being which is more important than ever. Clough Hall is a popular place, and is well used by sports groups, so I’m pleased that work has already started to enhance the facilities there.”

(Main image pictured at the park, from left to right, Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Cllr. Trevor Johnson and Cllr. Jill Waring.)

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