Words & pics by Ed King
Erdington MP Jack Dromey has called on Government to ‘ensure a decision is made… as soon as possible’ over a £12.7million Levelling Up Fund investment into the High Street, Erdington Local can reveal.
In a letter issued to Michael Gove earlier today, Mr Dromey urged the recently appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to respond to Erdington’s bid – allowing Birmingham City Council and local stakeholders to ‘get on with the job of delivering the improvements to infrastructure Erdington so desperately needs.’
An application for the Levelling Up Fund was submitted by Birmingham City Council in June, which if successful would see a multi-million pound injection into Erdington High Street, but has so far received no response from Government.
One of the criteria for the Levelling Up Fund, a £4.8 billion national pot of money for investment into local infrastructure, is for any successful bid to ‘begin delivery on the ground in the 2021-22 financial year’.
With only 6 months to go until April, concerns are growing if a decision is not reached soon the ambitious plans for the High Street could become impossible to deliver.
In his letter to Michael Gove, Mr Dromey continued: ‘I always say that Erdington may be one of the poorest constituencies in the country, but we are rich in talent.
‘The determination, innovation, and passion of local people, especially in the face of adversity as we have seen recently, never ceases to amaze and inspire me. However, without investment we will never realise this potential to its fullest.’
Erdington’s Levelling Up Fund bid was worked on by both Labour and Conservative politicians in the area – alongside key local stakeholders including Godwin Developments, Witton Lodge Community Association, and Erdington Business Improvement District.
Erdington recently missed out the Future High Streets Fund, an application made that would have seen over £50m pumped into the town centre in a joint investment from Government and the private sector.
Now the hopes for the High Street are pinned to the Levelling Up Fund, which would again see a £12.7million investment from Government topped up by the private sector.
Godwin Developments, who are looking to develop Central Square into a Brindley Place style destination venue of restaurants, cafes, and stylish accommodation, are keen to help transform Erdington High Street.
Matt Chandler, Development Director at Godwin Developments, told Erdington Local: “Erdington, with its young population, has great potential and the Levelling Up Fund would ensure that it is unlocked with a major boost from well-thought through schemes breathing life into the high street, providing places to live and community assets for years to come.
“The Fund would prove transformational for the area, creating economic, employment and cultural opportunities for residents and encouraging further inward investment.
“With the Commonwealth Games arriving in Birmingham next year, all areas of the city should receive the investment they deserve.”