In September 2023, the Government launched the government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns, a part of their levelling up programme. 55 towns across Great Britain will receive funding as part of this programme with Bilston being one of them.

Town Boards will have the freedom to develop plans that meet local priorities across the 3 broad investment themes of: Safety and Security; High Street, Heritage, and Regeneration; and Transport and Connectivity, to utilise a range of levers and flexibilities to drive improvement and unlock barriers to regeneration and development.

The government has confirmed towns will receive up to £20 million of funding and support over 10 years. The funding profiles for towns are set out below. Town Boards should consider how the actions they are seeking to deliver through their Long-Term Plan, complement other funding already secured across Bilston.

Town Board’s Long-Term Plan must include a 3-year investment plan that sets out the proposed interventions the board wishes to pursue, which should include a forecasted spend that matches their expected delivery milestones.

Towns Boards are encouraged to ensure that any form of consultation engages strongly with the local community and that they passport capacity funding on to local community groups to help to do so.

Town Boards must be chaired by a local community leader or local businessperson. The Chair should act as a champion for the town and provide leadership for the Town Board, ensuring it is community-led and embedded within the local area. They can be anyone who holds a prominent role such as:

  • a local charitable organisation
  • a philanthropist
  • the head of a Further Education College
  • a director for the NHS Board or Trust
  • a director of a football club

The Long-Term Plan should comprise a 10-year vision, which clearly identifies the longer-term priorities for the town, and a 3-year investment plan as an annex.

Town Boards must engage and co-design the plans with communities, businesses and residents to reflect local priorities drawing on available evidence and data gathered during community engagement.

Town Boards may use the funding to complement activity already underway via other government funding or to fund projects that have otherwise been paused; however, decisions on the interventions a Town Board wishes to pursue must be grounded in community engagement.

Town Boards must ensure any existing projects they want to support are aligned with the 3 themes of the fund:

  • Safety and Security
  • High streets, heritage and regeneration
  • Transport and connectivity.

Following approval of the Long-Term Plan, funding will be released over a 10-year period and local authorities have the flexibility to spend it as necessary during this time, with light touch assurance from DLUHC.