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Another regeneration win for Sandwell: £19m secured for Rowley Regis Towns Fund

Sandwell’s Towns Fund Programme has taken yet another leap forward this week, with the government approving £19m of funding for five regeneration projects in Rowley Regis.

In 2020, Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich were among 101 places selected by central government to bid for funding in the national Towns Fund initiative. All three bids were successful, so Sandwell Council and partners began drawing up detailed proposals for projects in each of those towns.

Three Sandwell Business Ambassadors sit on boards set up to secure the investment and then ensure it brings the greatest possible impact to the borough. Chris Hinson is chair of the West Bromwich board, of which John Wood DL is a member, and our chair Alan Taylor is chair of the Smethwick board.

At the end of May we shared the news that five regeneration projects in Smethwick had been given the go-ahead.

Now the government has approved funding for five individual Rowley Regis projects, which are:

Britannia Park Greenspace and Community Hub (Sandwell Council) – improving the infrastructure, facilities and environmental quality of Britannia Park with a new low-carbon community building. This will bring changing rooms, new allotment plots, tree planting, a reconstructed skate park, and new play and fitness equipment, and improve the main entrance and driveway, car park and constructing footpaths within the park.

Canal Network Connectivity (Canal & River Trust) – improving active travel connectivity within and across Rowley Regis by upgrading the Old Main Line Canal and Dudley No.2 Canal towpath surfaces, and access points onto the canal from surrounding areas.

Rowley Regis Satellite Education Hub (Sandwell College) – a new, dedicated education and training centre in Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis, for young people and adults. The Hub will work with local community groups to give social, medical and other education advice and services – providing a resource centre in collaboration with Sandwell College.

Blackheath Bus Interchange and Public Realm (Sandwell Council) – the creation of a central bus interchange around Blackheath Market Place. This will improve arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists, creating a new public realm and a focal point to the town centre, adapting delivery arrangements and excluding through-traffic.

Rowley Regis Connected (Sandwell Council) – a phased set of infrastructure improvements to link transport (rail, bus) and employment hubs in Blackheath, Cradley Heath and Oldbury. Delivering new pedestrian and cycle routes including segregated cycle routes, resurfacing and widening footpaths, upgrading crossing facilities and lighting, introducing traffic calming, improving signage and road markings.

The five approved Rowley Regis Town Fund projects will deliver:

* Four full-time equivalent jobs
* Eighty-seven temporary jobs
* 475 learners enrolled onto courses
* 9.52km of new cycleways
* 0.78km of new pedestrian paths
* 7.13km of improved pedestrian paths
* 700m2 of improved public realm
* 2.36km of resurfaced and improved roads
* 59,500m2 of existing park/greenspace improved
* Fifteen to twenty new allotment plots
* 100 planted trees
* Ten improved public transport routes.

Jude Thompson, chair of Towns Fund Superboard, said: “I’m really pleased that we have managed to secure and receive the funding for these projects. I grew up in Rowley Regis and my mom still lives here, so I know what a difference these improvements will make to the local community”.

Adrian Eggington is chair of Rowley Regis’s local board. He said: “This is fantastic news for the people of Rowley Regis as the projects will make a real difference to the area in terms of infrastructure and assets.

“It is a testament to the hard work put in by the people of Sandwell including the local authority and community partners which will continue to ensure a final legacy is created. A vital part of this work will be to continue to hear the voices of local people to ensure that the conversion of the vision to the final project completion is successful”.

About the other Towns Fund bids in Sandwell

Sandwell Council has worked in partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Canal & River Trust, Greets Green Community Enterprise Centre and Sandwell College (known collectively as Sandwell’s Towns Fund Partnership) to help secure £67.5m Towns Fund investment in total for Sandwell. This is the largest amount for any local authority area under the Towns Fund programme.

To date, 13 out of 16 projects have been approved by the government, securing £46m for the benefit of Sandwell. Sandwell’s Towns Fund Partnership looks forward to receiving a response from the government on the remaining West Bromwich projects.

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