55 'overlooked and undervalued towns' to get £20 million each - full list revealed

1 October 2023, 11:12

55 towns are getting £20 million each
55 towns are getting £20 million each. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

More than 50 "overlooked" towns across the UK will be given £20 million each to improve high streets and tackle anti-social behaviour.

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The £1.1 billion total pot will be handed out over a ten-year period, so local authorities can develop long-term spending plans.

The money could be spent on local priorities like reviving town centres, tackling anti-social behaviour, improving transport, boosting visitor numbers and growing the local economy.

The announcement came ahead of the Conservative party conference, which started on Sunday. Of the places to have been given money, 34 are in Tory-held seats and 16 are in Labour constituencies. The other five have SNP MPs.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Towns are the place most of us call home and where most of us go to work. But politicians have always taken towns for granted and focused on cities.  

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Mansfield is among the towns getting funding
Mansfield is among the towns getting funding. Picture: Alamy

"The result is the half-empty high streets, run-down shopping centres and anti-social behaviour that undermine many towns’ prosperity and hold back people’s opportunity – and without a new approach, these problems will only get worse.  

"That changes today. Our Long-Term Plan for Towns puts funding in the hands of local people themselves to invest in line with their priorities, over the long-term. That is how we level up."

The towns given the money will set up a town board that includes community leaders, employers, local authorities and the local MP, to come up with a plan that will then go out for consultation.

Officials suggested more private sector investment could be unlocked by auctioning empty high street shops, reforming licensing rules on shops and restaurants, and supporting more housing in urban centres.

Ashton-under-Lyne is getting funding
Ashton-under-Lyne is getting funding. Picture: Alamy

They said research showed communities want to see more green spaces created and market days established to enhance town centres, with policing hotspots implemented to make public spaces safer.

Ministers said towns had been allocated funding according to the Levelling Up Needs Index, taking into account metrics covering skills, pay, productivity and health, as well as the Index of Multiple Deprivation, to ensure funding goes directly to the towns which will benefit most.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: "We know that in our towns the values of hard work and solidarity, common sense and common purpose, endeavour and quiet patriotism have endured across generations. But for too long, too many of our great British towns have been overlooked and undervalued.  

Accrington
Accrington. Picture: Alamy

"We are putting this right through our Long-Term Plan for Towns backed by over £1bn of levelling up funding.

"This will empower communities in every part of the UK to take back control of their future, taking long term decisions in the interests of local people. It will mean more jobs, more opportunities and a brighter future for our towns and the people who live and work in them."

Full list of towns given £20 million each

Mansfield 

Boston 

Worksop 

Skegness 

Newark-on-Trent 

Chesterfield 

Clifton (Nottingham) 

Chesterfield
Chesterfield. Picture: Alamy

Spalding 

Kirkby-in-Ashfield 

Clacton-on-Sea 

Great Yarmouth 

Eston 

Jarrow 

Washington 

Clacton-on-Sea
Clacton-on-Sea. Picture: Alamy

Blyth (Northumberland) 

Hartlepool 

Spennymoor 

Darwen 

Chadderton 

Heywood 

Ashton-under-Lyne 

Burnley
Burnley. Picture: Alamy

Accrington 

Leigh (Wigan) 

Farnworth 

Nelson (Pendle) 

Kirkby 

Burnley 

Hastings 

Bexhill-on-Sea 

Ryde 

Torquay 

Torquay
Torquay. Picture: Alamy

Smethwick 

Darlaston 

Bilston (Wolverhampton) 

Dudley (Dudley) 

Grimsby 

Castleford 

Doncaster 

Rotherham 

Barnsley 

Scunthorpe 

Keighley 

Dewsbury 

Scarborough 

Dewsbury
Dewsbury. Picture: Alamy

Merthyr Tydfil 

Cwmbrân 

Wrexham 

Barry (Vale of Glamorgan) 

Greenock 

Irvine 

Kilmarnock 

Coatbridge 

Clydebank 

Dumfries 

Elgin

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