Ambitious plans to unlock millions of pounds of Government money to invest into Newcastle and Kidsgrove are moving forward.
Two new boards have now been set up to develop proposals for “Town Deals” which Ministers say will be supported by a £3.6 billion fund.
The boards are a partnership of public and private sector bodies and will lead the fight for Whitehall support to breathe new life into both towns.
The Borough Council, county council, parish and town councils will be represented together with leading figures from business, education, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the voluntary sector.
Cllr. Simon Tagg, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both towns. We are working closely with the new MPs that cover Newcastle and Kidsgrove to ensure that we make the best case possible for a share of the Town Deals’ money.
“Both towns have incredible potential and with further support and investment from the Government we are confident the boards can steer them on a path to prosperity.
“We have already received half a million pounds initial investment to progress work on the Town Deals as well as our Future High Streets Fund.
“Setting up the two boards is an important part of the process and we will now be pressing ahead in both towns to make sure our voices continue to be heard in Whitehall.”
Only a small number of districts have managed to get two town bids included in the Government process.
The Leader will be part of the Kidsgrove board with Deputy Leader Stephen Sweeney on the Newcastle one.
Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has said locations eligible for support from the Towns Fund “include places with proud industrial and economic heritage but have not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas.”
The Government is to publish a prospectus to guide locations through the funding process and set eligibility criteria.
Once approved, it is anticipated that new Town Deals will provide vital social and cultural infrastructure; boost growth in housing and jobs as well as improve transport and broadband connectivity.
A key plank in the proposals is that communities have a say on how the money is spent in their areas.