Quite often, the first words on the lips of readers when we mention the projects associated with the #StrongerHereford project are, why is the council wasting our money and why don’t they spend it on a bypass? Well it’s not that simple. This is money allocated by central government for community projects, however some people will point out that transport is mentioned.

Why can’t the ÂŁ25 million be spent on a bypass? Well, whilst ÂŁ25 million would be a chunk of support for a Western Bypass or Eastern Bridge, in reality it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the hundreds of millions that it would cost to build a bypass around Hereford and that’s why some of the money is therefore being spent on electric buses (approx ÂŁ1.8 million) and other green options in an attempt to benefit the city.

Back in 2019, Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP announced plans for a Stronger Towns Fund:

The 100 places invited to develop proposals for a new generation of multi-million-pound Town Deals have today (6 September 2019) been announced by Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP.   

The towns eligible for support from the ÂŁ3.6 billion Towns Fund include places with proud industrial and economic heritage but have not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas.

Communities, businesses and local leaders will now join forces to draw up ambitious plans to transform their town’s economic growth prospects with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.

A total of 45 places across the Northern Powerhouse and 30 places in the Midlands Engine are among the 100 pioneers of new Town Deals as part of the government’s commitment to level up all regions by boosting productivity, skills and living standards.

Local Government Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said: 

Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government.

We want to level-up our great towns, raising living standards and ensuring they can thrive with transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.

I will now work with local people from the 100 communities announced today to agree proposals to invest up to ÂŁ25 million in each place. I hope these deals will provide the investment and the impetus for long-term renewal ensuring each town can look to the future with a new optimism.

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Rt Hon Jake Berry MP said: 

In July, the Prime Minister promised to level up 100 towns across the country, and today we’re delivering that promise.

The best answers for local people will come from local people, that’s why we have listened to people living in these towns and will support them with a mega £3.6 billion fund to drive jobs and economic growth.

Five years on from the launch of the Northern Powerhouse, we are reaffirming our commitment to the people of the North so they have the support they need to be at the leading edge of a confident, global Britain when we leave the EU on 31 October.

Today’s announcement follows the Prime Minister’s confirmation in July of an additional £1.325 billion to support towns as part of a renewed vision to level up our regions, which took the total value of the Towns Fund to £3.6 billion.

The government will soon publish a prospectus to guide towns through the process and set eligibility criteria for funding.

Once approved, new Town Deals will improve connectivity, provide vital social and cultural infrastructure and boost growth – with communities having a say on how the money is spent. Decisions on funding any proposals will be made in due course.

The Town Deals Fund builds directly on the government’s commitment to decentralising funding and decisions away from Whitehall and investing in the growth of local economies and devolving powers through ambitious City and Growth Deals, providing more than £9 billion of funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships and introducing 8 metro mayors in England. 

The #StrongerHereford Vision:

“After extensive consultation with the people of Hereford, we faced the mammoth task of assessing and shortlisting your ideas. You were clearly all as passionate about our city as we are to embrace our rich heritage, creativity and ability to become a sustainable and forward-thinking city. The outcome  is a vision with five long-term themes: Greenest, Fairest, Creative, Digital, Connected.”

“Hereford aspires to be one of the greenest and fairest cities in the country, with fantastic opportunities and quality of life for people of all ages. Deeply rooted in our unique rural heritage, we’re blossoming into a richly creative, digital, connected and highly-skilled place to live, work study, invest and visit.”