Walsall and Bloxwich are among 100 towns selected to get a share of the Government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund, which aims to transform the economic growth prospect of towns with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and higher value jobs.
A total of £50m was awarded with Bloxwich and Walsall Town Centre each receiving £25m.
To steer this work and ensure that key stakeholders are involved in shaping the submissions and to draw in match funding, a Town Deal Board has been established, supported by Advisory Boards for both Bloxwich and Walsall.
The boards are made up of representatives from the business, voluntary, education and government sectors.
Town Investment Plans (TIPs) have now been submitted containing details of the projects that would be delivered under the scheme. All the projects below are subject to approval from government.
1 Active Travel and Connectivity: including cycling and walking connections between Bloxwich high street, Walsall town centre and local employment sites.
2 Promotion of Construction Skills Through Regeneration: Supporting training and employment through a fund that will seek applications from local housing associations and developers to financially support the remediation of existing derelict brownfield sites, and the environmental upgrading of existing dwellings. To access the fund applicants will be asked to make commitments to providing local jobs for local people, the use of local supply chains and the delivery construction skills and training for local people by developers.
3 Community Capital: Grants programme for local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) and social enterprise organisations to bid into, so they can expand their roles in supporting local people into employment and training etc.,
4 Incubation Space and Digital Access Centre: The facility will provide incubation space on Bloxwich High Street for local start-ups and small businesses and allow access to digital connectivity for local residents who do not have home access to broadband. The facility will also include the provision of co-working rented spaces which allows the businesses to collaborate and provides an income stream for the facility.
5 Green Bloxwich: Creating multi-use spaces such as new parks, sports arenas, allotment spaces for growing food and zones to attract and encourage wildlife. The spaces will include a social events and public space for festivals and presentations and events. This project also includes the refurbishment of heritage buildings in King George's V Park to bring them into economic use such as the conversion to community café and skills training facility.
1 Construction Skills Academy: Providing a range of construction skills training to ensure Walsall residents benefit from the investment in house building and construction in the town and the wider area.
2 Advanced Electric Vehicle Technology Centre: The provision of a new training facility to provide learning opportunities in the new and emerging electric vehicle market, delivered in partnership with Walsall College.
3 Town Centre Performing Arts Venue: An exciting new 1,000 seater, multi-use entertainment and performance arena within Walsall Town Centre, creating a destination venue.
4 Active Travel and Connectivity: active connections including cycling and walking - between Walsall town centre, Bloxwich high street, and local employment sites such as Phoenix 10.
5 Digital Skills Hub: Creating a new digital skills hub in Walsall town centre. Aimed at accelerating digital growth and a 'ready to go' employable workforce with the skills, knowledge and experience to succeed in the changing workplace.
6 Town Centre Community Learning Campus: the development of a fit for purpose adult/community education facility on the high street. Creating a new and improved offer that is accessible to all the borough and will attract more people to the town; providing day and night economic activity.
7 The Creative Industries Enterprise Centre: Creation of a makerspace, creative incubator and skills development hub. Aimed at small enterprises and local residents. Providing a high street presence, with the potential to create Walsall’s version of the Digbeth Custard Factory or Bristol Engine Shed.
8 Active Public Spaces: Developing an inviting, engaging and quality public space which better links the high street to the New Art Gallery and edge of town retail.
9 Community Capital: Grants programme for local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) and social enterprise organisations to bid into, so they can expand their roles in supporting local people into employment and training etc.