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09/01/2020

Town of the Year competition announced

Words: Laura Edgar
Robert Jenrick / Chris McAndrew

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has launched a competition for towns across England to celebrate their achievements.

This could be in various areas, such as entrepreneurship, technology, community, enterprise and integration.

The competition is intended to support communities to come together to create a “bright future and unleash their full potential”.

The government explained that a new ‘Towns Hub’ would be established within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to work directly with local people as they develop town investment proposals, and help communities to share best practice to “transform” their towns.

Jenrick began his “countrywide town tour in Wolverhampton”, which was granted city status in December 2000.

He will visit all 100 areas set to receive funding from the £3.6 billion Towns Fund over the next few months. He will set out the government's ambition to restore the fabric of towns and cities and give local people more control over how the money is invested. Each town can bid for up to £25 million.

The communities secretary said: “People have put their trust in this new government and we’re making an immediate start to serve local communities and deliver real change through our £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

“I will visit all these areas in the coming months and make sure they’re receiving the practical support and investment they need on the ground.

"To celebrate the achievements of our towns, we are launching a national Town of the Year competition. These plans will help make this decade a time of renewal for towns and communities, delivering on the prime minister’s bold agenda for the future.”

Professor Aude Bicquelet-Lock, deputy head of policy and research at the RTPI, said: “As part of the government’s recently-announced High Streets Task Force, the RTPI is looking forward to using its expertise and insight to help councils, business and community groups breathe new life into their local high streets and town centres. We are delighted that the government is investing in towns and creating a competition to recognise successful towns. Planners are essential to help deliver the government’s ambitions to create towns that thrive.”

Image credit | Chris McAndrew

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