Ambitious plans to transform Walsall Town Centre over the next 20 years received a major boost with the news that a bid by Walsall Council to the Future High Streets Fund has progressed to the next phase.
The £675m Fund was set up by central government to support councils across England as they respond to the challenges faced by the popularity of online shopping and fewer visitors.
Councils were invited to submit expressions of interest setting out the need for funding, the nature of the challenge and the vision for the future of the town centre. Following an assessment of over 300 bids from across the country, Walsall Council is one of only 50 applications shortlisted to progress to Stage 2 of the process.
The news comes just days before the Walsall Town Centre Masterplan will be discussed at cabinet. The Masterplan explores a number of ways that the town can be transformed to provide a lively and vibrant centre to attract residents and visitors to the economic heart of the borough.
Speaking about the announcement, Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Adrian Andrew said:
I welcome the news that we’ve progressed to the next stage. It’s vital that we attract external funding if we are to succeed in delivering our vision for Walsall Town Centre. We have to be bold if we are to create a Town Centre to be proud of and this is another step in the right direction.”
The council will now work on a full business case for a proposal with the help of a resource funding grant from central government of up to £150K.