Swindon & Wiltshire Business News


Swindon one of 100 towns to share £3.6 billion regeneration pot

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Swindon could benefit from up to £25m for regeneration projects after being named one of 100 towns to share the government's £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

The announcement was made on Friday morning (September 6) by Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Towns eligible for support from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund include places with proud industrial and economic heritage but have not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas.

The majority of towns – and some smaller cities – whose bids were approved are in the north of England or the Midlands. They included 45 communities in the Northern Powerhouse area and 30 in the Midlands Engine.

"Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government," said Mr Jenrick.

"We want to level-up our great towns, raising living standards and ensuring they can thrive with transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.

"I will now work with local people from the 100 communities announced today to agree proposals to invest up to £25 million in each place. I hope these deals will provide the investment and the impetus for long-term renewal ensuring each town can look to the future with a new optimism."

The news was broken by Swindon South MP Robert Buckland, who was addressing a Swindon Chamber of Commerce meeting. He said the fund could support innovative infrastructure projects including the rollout of full-fibre broadband.

He said he had been pushing hard for investment. "Swindon has to renew itself in light of the changes that the Honda closure will bring. I have been telling ministers 'Swindon too, please'," he said.

The government said it would now publish a prospectus to guide towns through the process and set eligibility criteria for funding.

Once approved, new Town Deals will improve connectivity, provide vital social and cultural infrastructure and boost growth – with communities having a say on how the money is spent.

Decisions on funding any proposals are not automatic, and will be made by government.