Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed the news that Wyre Forest District Council’s bid to the Government, for funding to help Kidderminster town centre under the Future High Streets Fund initiative, has been successful.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced the shortlist of bids that would progress to the next stage on Friday 5 July.
The Government announced the £675m initiative to support high streets in the 2018 Autumn Budget and applications were invited by March 2019 for the first stage which was to demonstrate the nature of the issues to be tackled in the town and what the vision was for transforming the centre to be fit for purpose in future.
Wyre Forest District Council submitted its vision which was based around three principal projects – bringing the former Magistrates’ Court and indoor market back into an active mixed use, developing the Crown House and Bull Ring area as a gateway into the town and bringing forward the redevelopment of the Bromsgrove Street car park area.
Councillor Fran Oborski, Wyre Forest District Council Deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Planning and Capital Investments said: “This was an extremely competitive bidding process and it’s wonderful news that we’ve been invited to progress to the next stage. We will now put together a full business case for the projects we’ve identified which will be transformative for Kidderminster town centre. This is excellent news, showing how Wyre Forest District Council has developed a compelling case for investment, and builds on the work the Council has been doing for some time to support our main town centre.”
Councillor Graham Ballinger, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council said: “This Council is committed to supporting local economic growth across the district and successful town centres are key to a successful wider district economy. All major town centres are facing difficult challenges as the retail sector undergoes change and it is important to think creatively about what town centres of the future will be like in order to be successful. The Future High Streets Fund will ensure that Kidderminster is at the forefront of that change and we look forward to working with the Government on our projects.”
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is great to see that Kidderminster has been successful in the first stage of its bid for the Future High Streets Fund. We know that Kidderminster draws in a significant amount of visitors and tourists, and the High Streets Fund has the potential to really modernise and evolve the town’s retail offer.”
The next stage will be for the Council to work with the newly appointed High Streets Task Force to develop the full business case for the bid and to secure a funding award that will enable the projects to progress.