I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Published February 1st 2021
Housing and a leisure centre could form part of town revamp
People living in the Tamworth area of Staffordshire are being asked to share their views on future regeneration plans. Tamworth Borough Council is seeking comments from residents on the future of the Gungate town centre site which they wish to unlock for regeneration in a way that is viable and sustainable and also contributes to the overall success of the town. The site in question incorporates an NCP car park, the Spinning School Lane car park, the Magistrates' Court, Staffordshire County Council Social Services buildings and a former bingo hall. Tamworth council bought the piece of land in 2018 from private developers and it has since been used as a temporary car park. As many of the buildings neighbouring the car parks are now vacant, such as the bingo hall and the police station, the council has been working with the various landowners to consider how the wider area could be regenerated as a whole. Proposals have now been drawn up which look at potential uses for the land. These can be viewed at www.tamworth.gov.uk/consultation together with detailed drawings, artist impressions and survey questions.
Tamworth's residents, businesses and shoppers are now being invited to look at the plans, which are available online until March 1, and share their views. Key aspects of the project include potential uses (taking into account market demand and the impact of the pandemic), site layout and the size and scale of any potential buildings. Once agreed, the principles will act as a guide for future development on the land. Feasibility studies have suggested that a mix of uses will be the most sustainable, which could include housing, retirement living, a leisure centre, workspace, evening leisure and multi-storey car parking. Retail is not being suggested as a major component of the site due to its decline on the high street in recent years. Councillor Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council's Cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, said: "These are really exciting times for Tamworth. We now have the opportunity to regenerate a key town centre site that has been stagnating for many years - but we need to get it right."
The area of Tamworth set to be transformed under the plans
He added: "Now that we have some parameters around what could potentially be possible, we'd like to get the views of Tamworth residents and businesses to see what sort of uses and development they would support. I'd encourage people to get involved and have their say. We have to acknowledge that town centres have changed. Their decline is being driven by changing consumer habits and the collapse of major high street chains over recent years. That's why any new development has to be viable, made up of uses that the market can support. It's all described in the online proposals, so I hope people take an interest and get involved."
The Gungate regeneration project is separate to the £21.65m Future High Streets Fund award announced recently to transform the heart of the town centre, including St Editha's Square and the entrance to the Castle Grounds.