TWO East Lancashire towns are to get £25million each from the Government’s ‘levelling up’ fund which looks to invest in under-resourced areas, Boris Johnson announced today.
Darwen and Nelson have been successful in their Town Deal bids securing the maximum sum available to pay for a range of local projects.
The £25million grants have been welcomed by their Conservative MPs Jake Berry and Andrew Stephenson, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Labour regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley and Pendle Council’s leader Cllr Nadeem Ahmed.
The Darwen cash will pay for the refurbishment of the town centre, including the Market Hall, and the creation of a multi-million pound materials and manufacurting centre.
The £25m is expected to generate a total investment in the town of £116m and create 600 jobs.
The £25m Nelson Town Investment Plan developed as part of the Town Deal bid, will deliver over 500 new jobs, huge investment in the town centre, commercial floorspace and better walking and cycling routes. The It will also pay for a new Digital Skills Academy Hub and Youth Employability Service.
Rossendale and Darwen MP Mr Berry said: “Today I can say with certainty that the best days for Darwen are ahead of it not behind it.
“This huge investment by the government shows that Darwen is at the centre of its leveling up agenda.
“This money will transform our town for the better.
“It is a once in a generation opportunity for Darwen and its people.”
Cllr Riley said: “This is absolutely great news.
“It is the result of the Town Deal Board, the MP and Blackburn with Darwen Council working as one to put together a very, very compelling bid.
“We can now look forward to being able to start getting on with our ambitious plans for this huge investment.”
Pendle MP Mr Stepheson hailed the ‘massive investment’ in Nelson as ‘great news’ and Cllr Ahmed said ‘this is fantastic’.
The announcement was part of Prime Minister Mr Johnson’s keynote speech today on the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda, with a focus on high streets and regenerating local communities.
He has approved 15 town deals including Darwen and Nelson.
In the speech Mr Johnson talked about creating a more balanced economy with great jobs in every part of the UK, investing in infrastructure and skills, restoring pride in place and putting local needs at the heart of the Government’s approach.
Mr Stephenson said: “A key pledge in the Conservative 2019 General Election Manifesto was to revive towns across the country as part of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Levelling Up agenda. This massive investment in Nelson and in Pendle delivers on that pledge and shows how serious he is at seeing all parts of our country succeed.
“The Nelson Town Investment Plan developed as part of the Town Deal bid, will deliver over 500 new jobs, huge investment in Nelson’s town centre, commercial floorspace and better walking and cycling routes too. The £25 million will also pay for a new Digital Skills Academy Hub and Youth Employability Service. This is great news for Nelson and will also benefit the wider Pendle and East Lancashire area.
“Having been a part of the Nelson Town Deal Board who prepared the bid I would like to pay tribute to the other members of the Board for their contributions. I would also pay tribute to all the residents who took part in the public consultations.”
Pendle Council leader Councillor Nadeem Ahmed said “This is fantastic news for Nelson, which will allow us to reverse years of decline, support existing businesses and help create new ones. This money will help us transform the town centre of Nelson, boost skills and provide much needed support for our young people.”