Council urges government to confirm Telford’s Towns Fund £25m bid

Telford & Wrekin Council has written to the government requesting urgent confirmation of Telford’s Towns Fund bid for £25 million.

The submission to government was made on 11 December last year and requested the investment towards four projects benefitting communities across the borough.  It was developed in partnership with the Telford Town Deal Board.

The proposals focus on transforming the land between Telford Central Railway Station and the town centre, to be known as Station Quarter, the regeneration of Wellington conservation area, including the historic market and Oakengates theatre quarter.  The submission also details plans to support the town’s destination offer through a growth fund.

Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said:

“As a new town Telford has regularly punched above its weight when it comes to the regional and national growth agenda.  However, we have been repeatedly overlooked for government investment which is why we are so determined to secure funding now through the Towns Fund bid.

“The government has had well over two months to consider, what I believe is, a very strong submission from the Telford Town Deal Board.  If the government is serious about its levelling up agenda we will be awarded the full £25 million, offering hope to our communities who are most in need of help.

“Two thirds of Telford’s population live within the Towns Fund bid area.  The borough towns of Oakengates and Wellington both fall into the 20% most deprived areas across the UK, with Wellington one of the 10% most deprived.  Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on these already challenged communities, widening existing inequalities.   Now, more than ever, funding is crucial to re-energise these areas.”

Councillor David Wright, cabinet member for economy, housing, transport and infrastructure, added:

“We recognise that with a population much younger than the national average and a higher-than average youth unemployment rate, our future is digital and securing full funding will generate the right environment to open up opportunities for young people across the borough.  We want to enable some of the most disadvantaged members of our communities to benefit. 

“At the heart of our submission is a drive to skill up the local workforce for an increasingly digital world.  The plans for Station Quarter include a ‘digital skills hub’ to be delivered by Telford College and the University of Wolverhampton.  A centre of excellence focused on meeting business need and demand.  

“Our Towns Fund bid also gives us the opportunity to create exciting futures for both Oakengates and Wellington delivering jobs and investment into the hearts of these communities.  These developments, alongside Station Quarter will increase Telford’s status as a great place to live and work, as well as a great place to invest.

“We have worked hard to secure £32 million of match funding, with a further £77 million set to be unlocked in future phases of Station Quarter, illustrating the support for our plans from the private, voluntary and public sector.  Our bid to government for £25 million is pivotal to making our vision for the town a reality.”