The first steps in helping Workington to secure up to £25m from the Government’s Towns Fund to develop its economic potential have been made.
Last year Workington was one of 101 towns identified by the Government as potential beneficiaries of the £3.6bn fund which aims to level-up funding and opportunities for communities across the country and deliver long-term growth.
Allerdale Borough Council is the lead council for the Towns Fund bid but local people and businesses will be involved in agreeing proposals through the creation of the Workington Town Deal Board, which will serve in an active advisory function to the authority.
The Towns Fund will encompass the following three areas: urban regeneration, planning and land use, skills and enterprise infrastructure and connectivity.
The board will be made up of representatives from the council as well as partners from the county council, Workington Town Council, Cumbria LEP and the MP for Workington Mark Jenkinson. There will also be representatives from major employers, SMEs, education, faith, the cultural/visitor sector, retail, the voluntary sector and the health sector.
A meeting was held on Friday (January 24, 2020) to establish the new board and officially start the process. The board will be chaired by John Coughlan, Chief Executive Officer of TSP Engineering in Workington.
Mr Coughlan said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity for Workington and West Cumbria and the project has the potential to drive real economic growth in the region. If we are successful, the impact of what we do will be felt for generations to come.”
One of Allerdale Borough Council’s representatives on the board will be Deputy Leader Mike Johnson. Cllr Johnson said: “It is an honour to be part of the board and help shape Workington’s future. Everyone is committed to making Workington an even better place to live, work and invest in.”
Community engagement will be a key part of the process and the board will look to involve as many people in the process as possible to drive a successful outcome.
At this time there are no firm plans for what the Towns Fund proposal will look like but plans will be shared as they begin to develop.