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Towns Fund

Volume 684: debated on Monday 16 November 2020

On 27 October, we announced the first seven town deal offers, worth almost £180 million, for Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Norwich, Peterborough, Torquay and Warrington. Of course, we look forward to receiving further town deal proposals, including from Thornaby in my hon. Friend’s constituency, in the coming months. We will also bring forward a competitive element of the fund so that more places can benefit from investment that will improve our towns and high streets and drive long-term economic growth.

I am currently working alongside councillors, businesses and community groups to put together Thornaby’s bid for up to £25 million. We want to get rid of the Eagle hotel and other blights on our town centre as well as improve training and skills opportunities, leisure facilities and cycle routes—and, importantly, we want to make life-changing improvements to housing. Does my hon. Friend agree that local people know their area best? Will he help unblock any bureaucratic barriers that prevent money being spent on local priorities?

Absolutely. I thank my hon. Friend for all his work. The objective of the towns deals is to drive the economic regeneration of towns, including through improving transport and digital infrastructure, supporting skills development and making the most of the planning powers to create a supportive environment for residents and businesses. The towns fund will support mixed-use redevelopment in towns such as Thornaby, creating thriving places for people to live and work. Each town has its own local priorities and should align its proposed interventions with the towns fund intervention framework, as set out in the further guidance.