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FANTASTIC TOWN DEAL WILL UNLOCK KIDSGROVE’S POTENTIAL

Written by on 10 March 2021

Ambitious proposals to deliver an unprecedented regeneration programme in Kidsgrove will become a reality following confirmation of a once in a lifetime funding opportunity.

The town is receiving £16.9 million from the Government’s Town Deal Fund for a range of major projects to make it a more desirable place to work, live, visit and invest.

The announcement was made by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his budget which outlined more than £1 billion to help create jobs and drive growth in 45 areas across the country.

The Kidsgrove Town Deal Board – representing partners from all sectors – was invited to submit a Town Investment Plan to the Government following initial support.

Investment priorities detailed in the plan – which will create almost 1,500 temporary jobs, 2,000 permanent jobs and approximately £80 million of operational gross value added (GVA) per year – have been developed following extensive consultation with residents.

The priorities focus 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. They involve:

  • Bringing forward the development of Chatterley Valley West, a 38-hectare strategic employment site within the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.
  • A new station building and transport interchange at Kidsgrove Railway Station, including a ticket office, back office facilities, toilets, retail space, communal areas and a 200-space car park to meet the needs of increased demand and capitalise on the longer-term opportunity presented by HS2. This includes improved access to the adjacent Trent and Mersey Canal.
  • Further financial support – on top of that already provided by the Council – to refurbish and reopen Kidsgrove Sports Centre under community management.
  • Improvements to the canal network to create a safe and attractive corridor, an off-road alternative for residents and visitors.
  • A shared modern hub, bringing together public sector organisations for improved access to services, together with new housing for older people and a wider programme of land assembly to increase footfall.
  • More improvements at Clough Hall Park and Newchapel Recreation Ground.

The Town Deal is on top of £750,000 of advanced funding to boost residents’ health and well-being. This money is being used to fund the stripping out and early works associated with the refurbishment of the 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 initial improvements at Clough Hall Park including the refurbishment of the main pavilion; and install a pump track at Newchapel recreation ground.

Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “The Town Deal announcement is wonderful news. Kidsgrove has many positives including good transport links, a strong community, proud heritage, a rich natural environment and affordable housing. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to unlock this unique town’s significant potential via a co-ordinated programme of regeneration – involving new and established projects reflecting community priorities – which will also address challenges and capture opportunities we’ve collectively identified.

“Our long-term vision is to create a dynamic and well-connected town that capitalises on its location, strategic employment sites and heritage and leisure assets, including the canal network, to forge a reputation as an attractive, welcoming and successful town which is a desirable place to live and invest, by 2030. This will not be delivered in isolation and requires ongoing conversations with stakeholders including residents.

“Several short-term, health related schemes are already well underway thanks to the advanced funding, including the refurbishment of the sports centre which will lead to the availability of high quality leisure facilities, including a swimming pool and gym. As well as addressing poor health outcomes, this will have a positive effect on residents’ ability to secure or sustain employment and educational opportunities.

“This significant amount of funding will allow us to maximise investment, kick-start recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and create the conditions for long-term economic growth. The focus is now on developing these exciting projects in finer detail. I’m really looking forward to working with other members of the Town Deal Board to transform Kidsgrove.”

A Town Investment Plan has also been submitted for Newcastle town centre.

Dan Gray, Executive Director of Property at Aspire Housing and Chair of Kidsgrove Town Deal Board, added: “We greatly welcome the announcement of the £16.9m Town Deal funding offer for Kidsgrove, which will have a major impact on bringing growth and prosperity to Kidsgrove in the long term. The projects that the funding will support will revitalise and transform the town for residents, businesses and visitors – this is definitely very exciting news for the Kidsgrove community.”