In a letter to Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Erdington MP has stressed the importance of a timely decision on the £12.7 million Levelling Up Fund bid.
The bid, which was submitted by Birmingham City Council in June, would see the redevelopment of the former swimming baths into a Community and Enterprise Hub, redevelopment of the Central Square Shopping Centre including new flats, restaurants and cafes, and a new public square. There would also be investment in new housing, cultural, leisure and social activities for people of all ages, and creating better physical and social connectivity within the area.
However, a key requirement of the Levelling Up Fund is for ‘delivery to begin on the ground’ in this financial year and Mr Dromey is urging Mr Gove to “ensure a decision is made on Erdington’s Levelling Up Fund bid as soon as possible to allow Birmingham City Council to get on with the job of delivering the improvements to infrastructure Erdington so desperately needs.”
Under the terms of the Levelling Up Fund, the support of the local MP is required in order for the bid to be successful. Each MP is only able to nominate one bid and Mr Dromey has thrown his full support behind the High Street bid.
The MP, who was first elected in 2010, pays tribute to the people of Erdington and their “determination, innovation, and passion” but says that “without investment we will never realise this potential to its fullest”. He has also expressed concerns for the future of businesses on the High Street if funding is not forthcoming.
The letter also stresses the importance of investment to Erdington, which is the 5th most deprived constituency in the UK, and emphasises that ensuring it receives the necessary support and investment would show the Government is serious about their ‘levelling up’ agenda.
The Levelling Up Fund bid is the second attempt to secure investment in Erdington High Street after a bid to the Future High Streets Fund was rejected by the Government on Boxing Day, something Mr Dromey described as a “bitter blow”.
Jack Dromey, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington, said:
“Erdington High Street is badly in need of investment. This once fine High Street, like many across the country, has been in decline for some time. We have made an imaginative and solid bid to the Levelling Up Fund that would transform the High Street and provide a much needed boost to local businesses and our local community.
“Birmingham City Council and other local stakeholders are eager to get started with delivering these improvements but we are yet to receive a decision from Government on whether the bid has been successful. All successful bids must spend a proportion of the money secured in this financial year, and with just over 6 months remaining, time is of the essence.
“I am urging Michael Gove and the Government to prove they are serious about ‘levelling up’ by approving our bid as soon as possible. Birmingham City Council must be allowed to start work on this project and deliver a High Street the people of Erdington can be proud of once again.”