Government officials have admitted to Birmingham City Council that Government miscalculations have led to plans to redevelop Erdington High Street missing out on vital Government funding
Following the Boxing Day announcement that the Erdington High Street redevelopment bid would not receive Government backing, it has now been revealed that mistakes by officials at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have led to Erdington missing out on the crucial funding, leaving the redevelopment plans in the balance.
In recent weeks, officials from Birmingham City Council and MHCLG have been engaged in discussions to understand how the Erdington bid missed out on securing funding from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund. However, MHCLG officials have now admitted that they made miscalculations in the cost-benefit analysis of the Erdington bid meaning it did not secure the funding necessary for the redevelopment works to begin.
Government officials had initially blamed the City Council for the errors, but now accept that the Erdington bid was soundly based. A cost-benefit ratio of 2:1 was required to secure Government funding. The City Council contended that the Erdington bid always met this ratio, which MHCLG officials now accept.
The Future High Streets Fund is a key plank of the Government’s agenda to revive declining High Streets in deprived areas. Erdington High Street, located in the one of the most deprived constituencies in the country, was a strong contender for the Fund. Local MP, Jack Dromey, and the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, have this week written to the Secretary of State for MHCLG, Robert Jenrick, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss a way forward for the Erdington bid.
Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham, Erdington, said:
“For years, Erdington High Street has been in decline and the local community has fought hard in recent times to put the heart back into the High Street.
“A fully costed, ambitious plan was put together by the City Council and key local stakeholders to deliver a much-needed economic boost to the area. There was utter dismay among the local community when it was rejected by the Government.
“Now we know the Civil Servants got it wrong. That’s why, together with Ian Ward, we are seeking an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss how this happened and to ensure that Erdington High Street does not miss out on this vital funding.”
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“The team from Birmingham City Council worked hard to deliver a bold and transformative proposal to redevelop Erdington High Street which has suffered from years of decline.
“The redevelopment plans met all the necessary requirements to secure Government support and funding and we had a compelling case, so the local community is dismayed to have missed out.
“Along with local MP, Jack Dromey, we will be exploring all options available with the Secretary of State to ensure that the High Street plans receive their fair allocation of funding.”