Erewash Borough Council is to bid for substantial government funding for three projects that will help reduce the impact of HS2 on Long Eaton.
The council has confirmed its bid will be submitted by the 22 March deadline and will ask for a slice of the government’s newly-launched £675m Future High Streets Fund – with most awards expected to be in the £5m-£10m range, although the maximum amount is £25m.
Local authorities can bid for only one town and to qualify the town centre must be facing a significant challenge, with the council also demonstrating a strong vision on how it can transform the town.
The council has made it clear that the proposed high speed rail line through Long Eaton will have serious consequences and at the end of last year it approved its Mitigation Plan, a hard-hitting package of measures it wants HS2 Ltd to put in place to help the town.
The new Future High Streets Fund is seen as a way that the government can pay for some of those measures and so the council is specifically bidding for:
- A new west facing chord from the High Level Line allowing the Low Level Line to be closed. This would enable the line of HS2 to be altered to reduce the number of residential and business demolitions; remove the need for level crossings in the town, improve access and reduce congestion. It would also release space to expand existing business parks providing new employment opportunities.
- An improvement to Long Eaton Green to prevent the frequent grid-lock there, improve the reliability of bus journeys, create better pedestrian crossings and form a feature gateway to the town.
- The physical regeneration of run-down parts of the town.
Councillor Michael Powell, Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Regeneration and Planning, says:
“Looking at the criteria for the current funding round, we believe a bid for Long Eaton has a realistic chance of success. We are putting our full weight behind this bid to gain what we hope would be substantial funding towards these three key projects. Alongside this, we have already given a forthright and clear message to HS2 that we are fighting for, and want, the best possible deal for our communities here in Erewash. They have seen all the measures we want in place and are well aware of the work that has been put in by this council to look at ways of reducing the impact on Long Eaton.”
Some of the funding available as part of the Future High Streets Fund has been ring-fenced for heritage-style projects and the council also plans to apply for money at a later date for a heritage-related regeneration project in Ilkeston.