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Councils announce plans for revised arrangements for economic development and regeneration

News release issued:

The three district councils in North Worcestershire have announced that they are planning to change arrangements for supporting their work on economic development and regeneration.

North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWedR) has successfully worked to support and grow the economies of Redditch, Bromsgrove and Wyre Forest for more than a decade. In recent years it has attracted a very welcome total of £70m in Government grants for the three districts to support major regeneration programmes. The small team of officers is based in a shared service hosted by Wyre Forest District Council.

All three councils continue to make economic regeneration a high priority as part of their future plans. The leadership of the three councils have been considering future options for more than a year. They have concluded that the best interests of the districts would be served by mutually agreed termination of the current shared service on 30 June 2024.

Commenting on the proposal, Councillor Marcus Hart, leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said:

“NWedR has been a great success, not least in attracting tens of millions of Government investment into North Worcestershire. Implementing the programmes and projects associated with the Government grants has inevitably involved considerable additional work and has affected NWedR’s capacity in the last couple of years. That has been exacerbated by recruitment difficulties in filling posts and keeping them filled. The leaders of Redditch and Bromsgrove and I have discussed the need to make alternative arrangements to serve our three councils and we’re moving forward amicably to implement them.”

Bromsgrove District Council Leader Councillor Karen May said:

“I believe that there is a strength in partnership working and we have supported our businesses and succeeded in bidding for Government funding, not least the £14m for the Former Market Hall site, as part of this partnership.

“All three councils have agreed that now is the time to separate and concentrate on our own regeneration projects which are happening at a great pace.

“We will be making sure that our new team will have the skills and will have the staff numbers required to deliver this council priority and manage our projects and ensuring they are kept on track.

“Rest assured that this council will continue to support our business community and the economic development is one of our top priorities as we continue to create a Better Bromsgrove for everyone.”

Redditch Borough Council Leader, Councillor Matt Dormer said:

“We have a masterplan for the regeneration of Redditch which we are making a reality after securing £15m in Town Deal funding from the Government.

“You will see that work is under way to create a community hub, putting public services under one roof and a related plaza redevelopment off Alcester Street.

“This shopping and leisure plaza will open up the space, a move which has been commended by independent consultants, and connect the town centre to the Kingfisher, meaning more footfall for our businesses.

“All of these plans will create a better place for our residents and visitors to live, work and spend their spare time and of course creating more jobs and building on transport links with a new improved train station.

“While the NWEDR partnership has enabled us to have a strong presence, it is now the right time for us to separate and concentrate our efforts more locally to make a positive difference for our future generations while harnessing the same officer expertise which has got us this far.”

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