A revamped railway station, a new ‘shared service hub’ and the creation of more than 2,000 jobs are included in a town’s new £166 million masterplan.
Council chiefs are bidding for up to £25 million of Government funding for Kidsgrove, after it was named as one of 101 places set to benefit from the Towns Fund scheme.
Newcastle Borough Council has now published its town investment plan (TIP) for Kidsgrove, which sets out how the money would be spent on a range of projects, with a further £141 million set to come from other sources.
The single largest proposal would see £8.29 million of Town Deal cash spent on a ‘shared service hub’, which would bring together Kidsgrove’s library, Jobcentre, post office and a range of health services into a single location.
Aspire Housing would invest £11.58 million in new homes as part of the same development, which would also ‘define a clear route’ linking the town centre to Kidsgrove Station.
The station itself would also be transformed with £5.17 million from the Towns Fund. This would pay for a new station building, along with a ‘multi-modal interchange’, real-time bus passenger information, a dedicated drop-off area and a new 200-space car park.
Meanwhile, £3.68 million would be spent on ‘de-risking’ the 38 hectare Chatterley Valley employment site, part of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.
According to the TIP, delivering site access and water main diversions would pave the way for private sector investment, which could generate 1,940 jobs and a £72 million boost to the local economy.
Other schemes included in the TIP are:
- Kidsgrove Sports Centre (£2.45 million) – Further funding for the £5.9 million refurbishment of the mothballed leisure centre, which has been closed since 2017;
- Kidsgrove parks (£2.1 million) – Upgraded pavilion and sports facilities at Clough Hall Park, along with enhanced security measures. New planting, play facilities, footpaths and seating at Newchapel Recreation Ground;
- Canal enhancement (£2.2 million) – Upgraded towpath with a continuous sealed surface, new solar lighting, new signs, improved access points and a realignment of the pathway at Harecastle Tunnel to provide better access;
- Light industrial units on West Avenue (£1.1 million) – New general industrial and distribution units on the 2.83 hectare site, which could lead to 142 new manufacturing and logistics jobs.
The TIP has been developed by Kidsgrove’s Town Deal Board, made of councillors and representatives from business and the voluntary sector.
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Borough council cabinet members will be asked to endorse the Kidsgrove TIP when they meet on Wednesday, November 11.
Council leader Simon Tagg said: “If the plan is approved and progressed we will see better connectivity for Kidsgrove with improved railway networks, improved employment prospects, enhanced sports facilities and green open spaces and investment in the unique Harecastle canal. This will no doubt improve opportunities for residents but also attract visitors and investment to the area as well.
“There has been nothing like this for generations in this area.”
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis added: “I believe we have a really exciting pitch to Government that would see a huge transformation to Kidsgrove. Providing better health and wellbeing facilities is even more important due to Covid-19 and making the most of our green outdoor spaces and canal will help to reinvigorate the long forgotten town.
“I am delighted to have been working hard with the Town Deal Board and will now be lobbying in Westminster to get our full £25 million bid.”
If the requested funding is approved by the government, the proposals would be delivered over the next five years, with the ‘shared service hub’ due for completion in October 2025.
Kidsgrove has already been allocated a £750,000 ‘advance payment’ from the Towns Fund, to help it bounce back from the pandemic.
Newcastle has also been selected for a Town Deal of up to £25 million, and a separate TIP is being developed.
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