William Eichler 26 October 2018

Plan to revive town centres in the West Midlands launched

A new plan to unlock ‘funding, expertise and support’ in order to revive high streets across the West Midlands has been launched.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and local councils have agreed a plan to support town centres in Bilston, Dudley, Birmingham, Walsall and West Bromwich.

High streets across the country have suffered as consumers have increasingly switched to online shopping and out of town retailing.

However, the new town centre plan, agreed by the WMCA Housing and Land Delivery Board yesterday, will unlock new funding, expertise and support from the WMCA and other partners and be delivered by councils.

Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio lead for housing and land, said: ‘Many of our town centres need to re-invent themselves to meet the challenge of the 21st Century and meet the needs of our residents.

‘The WMCA will help councils accelerate their plans to transform these centres and ensure they remain viable.’

‘The future of the high street will not only be about shops, it will be about public services, homes, small businesses and community activities,’ commented the mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street.

‘There are many opportunities for our high streets. We must find a positive future for them which embraces technological change. The future of our communities depends upon it.

‘Today is just the start. We want to be the region that leads the way nationally in reimagining the role and function of town centres in the digital age.

‘And with a very bold housing and regeneration ambition, strong leadership and as the UK home of 5G we are well placed to do so.’

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