Going for it! Sandwell submits Towns Fund regeneration plans to government

Sandwell’s Towns Fund regeneration plans are close to the hearts of the Sandwell Business Ambassadors, with Chris Hinson, John Wood DL and our chair Alan Taylor sitting on boards set up to secure the investment and then ensure it brings the greatest possible impact to the borough.

We are pleased, therefore, to say that Sandwell Council and key partners have submitted final Towns Fund programme plans to the government, for a wide range of regeneration projects.

Towns Funds: what are they?

Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich were among 101 places selected by central government in 2020 to bid for the funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) – then called the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government.

By regenerating town centres, Towns Fund initiatives aim to boost businesses, improve infrastructure, encourage enterprise and bring communities together.

In March 2021, we heard that all three Sandwell bids had been successful, with Rowley Regis to receive £19m, Smethwick £23.5m and West Bromwich £25m.

Partnership and projects

Sandwell Council has worked in partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Canal & River Trust, Greets Green Community Enterprise Centre and Sandwell College to help secure this investment of £67.5m for Sandwell. This is the largest amount for any local authority area under the Towns Fund programme.

The partnership is planning 16 different but equally ambitious regeneration projects for Sandwell, with parts of Oldbury also benefitting under the Rowley Regis deal.

The government has already approved three Sandwell projects:

Digital Den (Greets Green Community Enterprise) – located at Woods Lane Community Centre in West Bromwich to support children, adults and older people to get online and improve access to jobs.
Sandwell Civil and Mechanical Engineering Centre – Sandwell MEC (Sandwell College) – building a new technical campus on West Bromwich High Street to provide opportunities in engineering, advanced manufacturing, civil engineering, construction and hybrid electric vehicles.
West Bromwich Urban Greening (Sandwell Council) – improving existing green space and the appearance of the town centre, including new trees, parklets, play space and better links to Sandwell Valley, plus a cultural programme.

The Digital Den and Sandwell MEC projects are part funded by the Towns Fund with match funding from Greets Green Community Enterprise and Sandwell College.

The 13 projects now submitted for approval last week are as follows (with each lead organisation in brackets):

West Bromwich Town Hall Quarter Project (Sandwell Council)
Retail Diversification Programme, West Bromwich (Sandwell Council)
West Bromwich Connected (Sandwell Council)
Ron Davis Centre Expansion, Smethwick (Sandwell Council)
Midland Met Learning Campus, Smethwick (Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust)
Grove Lane Regeneration, Smethwick (Sandwell Council)
Rolfe Street Canalside Regeneration, Smethwick (Sandwell Council)
Smethwick Connected (Sandwell Council)
Britannia Park Community Hub, Rowley Regis (Sandwell Council)
Canal Network Connectivity, Rowley Regis (Canal & River Trust)
Rowley Regis Satellite Education Hub (Sandwell College)
Blackheath Bus Interchange and Public Realm, Rowley Regis (Sandwell Council)
Rowley Regis Connected (Sandwell Council).

Some of these projects are being match-funded by partners. Visit for more details about each project.

Jude Thompson, chair of Towns Fund Superboard in Sandwell, said: “It has been a great pleasure to work with, and continue to work with, everyone involved – from the Local Board Chairs, representatives of Sandwell Council and the project teams. I’m extremely proud that these projects are moving ahead to the next stage. This is an amazing opportunity for everyone involved to help shape the local area for the future. These projects will make a difference to so many local people’s lives and can only be a good thing for our local communities.”

Adrian Eggington is chair of Rowley Regis Local Board. He said: “We are really pleased, following much hard work from local communities and the support of Sandwell Council, that we are able to submit these business cases to government to support the development and regeneration of Rowley Regis. All five bids are the result of a great deal of consultation and commitment from many groups and will make significant contributions to the health and wellbeing of both residents and the locality. We are confident the business cases will be successful and once finally approved we can start on the important task of delivering for the people of Sandwell.”

As well as being an independent Sandwell Business Ambassador, Chris Hinson is chair of West Bromwich Local Board. She said “The Towns Fund incorporates plans to radically transform West Bromwich town centre, investing in skills, regeneration and connectivity. Therefore, it is fantastic news that the first three projects that have been submitted to DLUHC have been approved on their first submission and funds released to begin this innovative work. This is just the first stage of a long-term investment plan which will provide a once in a generation opportunity to transform the area in which we live and work into a vibrant, mixed-use town centre of which we can all be proud, while also making investments in our local skills base and the education of our residents of all ages.”

Alan Taylor, chair of Smethwick Local Board and chair of the Sandwell Business Ambassadors, said: “The Smethwick Towns Fund is a valuable opportunity to make a real difference to the people and businesses of Smethwick and the wider area of Sandwell. Smethwick has huge potential and it is important to support our people and businesses to lift and achieve their aspirations. I believe that the Towns Fund investments will go a long way to ensuring ongoing success in this hugely important journey.

“Smethwick has got a long, proud and influential history with its roots firmly in the Industrial Revolution. I believe that these investments together with the Smethwick Connected transport infrastructure projects will help Smethwick prepare for the next successful part of its history.”


The Ambassadors are a collective of business people in the Sandwell area with the aim of supporting the Sandwell Business Community.

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