Image Credit: Upperbanks: Rochdale Borough Council
From potholes to people: the 10-year funding pot for Towns.
The Long-Term Plan for Towns will bring together community leaders, business people, and local bodies to forge their town’s future together, alongside the funding needed to deliver for their communities in the long-term. With the submission of Long-Term Plans due in the Summer of 2024, Cathy Palmer, Director of Regeneration Delivery shares her thoughts.
In October 2023, the Government launched their Long-Term Plan for Britain’s Towns with an allocation of £20m for each of the 55 towns identified which include amongst others: Farnworth in Bolton, Heywood in Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne in Tameside, Leigh in Wigan, Kirkby in Knowsley, Darwen in Blackburn with Darwen, Chadderton in Oldham and Burnley.
This funding is part of the wider Levelling Up agenda but this time it comes with a more generous spending deadline – the aim being to articulate a vision and build up an investment plan for the town over 10 years through a Towns Board, giving communities more choice on when and how the money is spent. This approach plays much better to supporting the development of civic pride and civic stewardship – the elements that make a place successful, and a place people want to live.
As well as providing a generous funding timeframe, this fund is flexible in its application, giving Councils and local communities choice around three key investment themes: Transport, High Street and Security. This means the fund can be used to support capital investments such as new parks or public realm, but also support voluntary organisations, charities and social action projects to build their capacity.
``It's a really exciting opportunity for support to be provided to 'agents of change' in local communities. These are local stakeholders who are passionate, well connected and investment ready.``
My experience has taught me that to change the fortunes of a place, investment is needed in people as well as buildings, and this fund provides a real opportunity to do that.
I’m also particularly excited to see support available for the long-term growth of cultural organisations such as independent music venues, local art initiatives and makers space who often need sustained and reliable support over longer timeframes.
Long Term Town Investment Plans need to be prepared and submitted to Government by 1st August 2024. If you’d like help to prepare your Long-Term Town Investment Plan, let’s talk … soon.