Sandwell’s Towns Fund Programme has taken a leap forward this week, with £19m funding for five regeneration projects in Rowley Regis being approved by the government.
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. This week the government has approved the funding for the five individual Rowley Regis projects.
Together, the Rowley Regis Town Fund projects will deliver ambitious projects that will have a positive effect on Rowley Regis residents through improved transport links and community space, and a new skills centre. As it is a five-year programme, projects will come to life at different points during this period.
The five Rowley Regis Town Fund projects are:
- Britannia Park Greenspace and Community Hub (Sandwell Council) – improving the infrastructure, facilities and environmental quality of Britannia Park through the delivery of a new low-carbon community building. This will provide changing rooms, new allotment plots, tree planting, reconstructed skate park, 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, to enable the engagement of young people and adults. The Hub will work in conjunction with local community groups to provide access to social, medical and other education advice and services – providing a ‘resource centre’ with Sandwell College as the anchor institution.
- 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 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:
- 4 full-time equivalent jobs
- 87 temporary jobs
- 475 learners enrolled onto courses
- 9.52km of new cycle ways
- 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
- 15-20 new allotment plots
- 100 planted trees
- 10 improved public transport routes.
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “The council, working in partnership with Sandwell College and the Canal & River Trust, has achieved government approval for the £19 million funding for the five Towns Fund projects, which will enable us to drive the town’s economic regeneration.
“As a result, we will deliver long-term economic growth that will benefit Rowley Regis’ residents and businesses, gearing up the skills of our workforce so they can respond to changing business needs and play their part in a growing, resilient economy.”
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, Chair of Rowley Regis Local Board, 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”.