Council to bid for £40m cash for Ashton and Stalybridge town centres

Reporter: Charlotte Green
Date published: 03 May 2021

Bosses in Tameside are to bid for up to £40 million of government cash to ‘level up’ the town centres in Ashton and Stalybridge.

As part of the budget announced in March, the government has pledged £4.8 billion of ‘levelling up funding’ to be spent in the years up to 2024-25.

The purpose of the fund is committed to a ‘holistic, place based approach to funding projects and programmes across the country’, according to council documents.

It mainly focuses on transport investments, regeneration and town centre investment and cultural investment.

Following initial discussions with the three Tameside MPs, chiefs agreed that a bid for the constituency of Ashton should focus on Ashton town centre, and for the Stalybridge and Hyde constituency focusing on Stalybridge town centre.

The town centre selected for the Denton and Reddish constituency funding bid was Reddish, which is being developed by Stockport council.

Tameside’s cabinet has now agreed to spend £100k on specialist support which will enable the council to ‘prepare and submit robust business cases to the fund’.

This will support an investment bid for up to £20m for each town centre.

However, there are currently no details of what specific projects the funding would be spent on.

According to the cabinet report, transport investments could cover public transport, bus priority lanes, bridge repairs and local road improvements.

Regeneration funding could be used to enhance buildings and infrastructure, acquire and regenerate brownfield sites and encourage ‘safe community spaces’ into towns.

Cultural investment could also be made on maintaining or regenerating museums, galleries, visitor attractions and heritage assets.

Cabinet member for finance, Councillor Oliver Ryan, said: “We have a plan for each of our town centres, in Droylsden, Denton and Hyde and this will hopefully help us with Ashton and Stalybridge to bring more of that through.

“We just hope that the government matches our own aspiration for Ashton and Stalybridge and we’ll do everything we can to make sure these bids are as strong as possible.

“This report is asking for some funding to put that in place.

“It’s a really good thing, we’ve just got to hope that the government sees as much value in those town centres as we do.”

Explaining the reason for bringing in external consultants to support the council’s bids, director of growth, Jayne Traverse added: “This work is significant, these bids are not small bids, and they need intense work within a very, very tight deadline.

“And on that basis we need external support to help us prepare those bids.”

The cabinet also agreed to create a working group with the owners of Arcades and Ladysmith Shopping Centres in Ashton to develop the proposals.

Work will now commence to support the development of ‘robust and deliverable bids’ to the fund for both Ashton and Stalybridge town centres by June 18.

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