How are we supporting local communities develop their infrastructure strategies
Our town centres are important community hubs, providing services and jobs to local people as well as opportunities to socialise. We are rightly proud of the places where we live, work, and raise our families. For too long, however, our local town centres have been neglected as investment is focussed on larger city centre hubs.
As the MP for a number of smaller towns and communities, I am determined to do what I can to support them and to attract investment to them. There is no reason why Chapeltown, Penistone, Dodworth, or Stocksbridge should be left behind for the likes of Sheffield or Leeds.
And we have already seen what can be achieved when a community is given the opportunity to come together and develop a plan for their town.
The Stocksbridge Town Deal Board that I co-chair has secured more than £24 million from the Government to fund improvements in Stocksbridge and Deepcar.
By investing in infrastructure, skills, and community facilities, we are bringing new opportunities to a town that has been let down in the past. But I see no reason why the same opportunities shouldn't be available to other towns across my constituency, Chapeltown and Penistone are also local hubs with their shops, health services, community facilities, and public transport links all serving wider areas.
That is why I asked the Secretary of State for Communities, Robert Jenrick, what options exist for towns like these to secure investment from the Government, and so benefit from the opportunities that the levelling up agenda can bring to our local area.
Oral questions: Housing, Communities and Local Government
"It has been a privilege to co-chair the Stocksbridge towns fund board and work with the local community to develop our plans to regenerate the town with £24.1 million of Government investment. However, there are other towns in my constituency, such as Penistone and Chapeltown, that would also benefit from a co-ordinated community-led approach. What plans does my right hon. Friend have to encourage local councils to support communities to develop their own local infrastructure development strategies?"
Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Communities - I enjoyed visiting Stocksbridge just over a year ago with my hon. Friend and was delighted to see its £24.1 million town deal announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor at the Budget. I very much look forward to seeing its exciting proposals come to life, including a new visitor centre for a gateway to the Peak district. I recognise the point she makes. She represents many other towns, such as Penistone and Chapeltown. We want to ensure that they, too, can benefit from much needed regeneration funding. That is why bidding is now open for our levelling-up fund, worth £4.8 billion, which will deliver genuine local priorities by putting local support, including that of a Member of Parliament, at the heart of its mission. When I visited Stocksbridge, the birthplace of the modern umbrella, my hon. Friend kindly gave me an umbrella. With the new local town deal and an excellent MP, I am hopeful that the sun will keep shining on her constituency for many years to come."