Work has already begun on preparing a detailed bid to the Government’s Future High Streets Fund which could help transform a popular Birmingham suburb.
Birmingham City Council submitted expression of interest in March to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – one of more than 300 submissions from councils across the country, bidding for a share of the £675 million available to help local leaders reinvent their town centres.
After several months of sifting, Erdington was named as one of the 50 areas shortlisted to progress to the next stage, which were revealed last week (5 July).
Successful towns will now receive assistance to work up detailed project proposals, based on their initial plans. Detailed bids must be submitted by the end of the year, with successful projects expected to be announced next summer.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is a positive step forward and we will now work closely with Erdington BID to put together a compelling and successful bid for funding. Our High Streets are hugely important, both financially and in terms of local pride and our aim is to secure a successful future for Erdington High Street.”
This is an opportunity to put Erdington back on the map as a key entertainment and leisure destination. The city’s bid aims to make Erdington’s town centre the focal point for the local community.
The bid not only looks at ensuring the High Street can thrive but also focuses on cultural, leisure and social opportunities for all ages, helping to tackle social isolation in the area.
Terry Guest, manager of Erdington BID, said: “These are exciting times for Erdington with the prospect of town centre regeneration in full view, and we look forward to presenting our business case to the government.”
Cllr Robert Alden, one of Erdington’s ward councillors welcomed the news as the funding bid progresses to the next stage. He said: “This is great news for Erdington and we’ll now be re-doubling our efforts to make sure we get through the final stage. Our plans will transform the High Street into a modern, thriving heart of the community once again, while also reflecting and enhancing our heritage.”
Local centres and high streets play a vital role to communities across Birmingham.
Katie Trout, Director of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise said: “We are delighted at the news that Erdington has been successful in moving to the next stage of the Future High Streets Fund competition. The success of towns and local centres across Greater Birmingham is critical to the economic fabric of our region, providing distinctive places for people to live, work and visit.
“Supporting their success is one of GBSLEP’s key objectives, and we look forward to working with Birmingham City Council alongside MHCLG in developing their transformational plans further.”
Birmingham City Council will now await further details from the Government on how it can best devise and present a detailed bid in order to maximise its chance of success.