A masterplan to regenerate Tamworth and attract new businesses and investment to the town has been unveiled that could tranform its three town-centre shopping areas while bringing in new shops, housing and leisure facilities.
Ray Vanstone, strategic planning officer for Tamworth Borough Council, said: “It’s early days at the moment but there are some areas of the town that are a bit tired-looking.
“They’ve served their purpose well over the years but now they are in need of an update and we’re hoping that this is the first stage in the process.”
The council wants to team up with local businesses to revamp the town’s Gungate Precinct, Middle Entry shopping area and its Ankerside shopping area.
“The problem for Tamworth is that it is fairly small and in the past has missed out on some of the major retailers that have cropped up in other areas,” he said.
“It’s also suffered from out-of-town shopping areas like the nearby Ventura Park, which has taken a lot of business out of the town centre.
“Obviously, out-of-town centres have their place and they’re very useful but it’s a priority of ours to attract new business into the heart of the community.”
Mr Vanstone said he hoped the first stage of the redevelopment would be at the Gungate Precinct where the council expected to receive plans “any day now” for a £75 million revamp of the shopping centre by Henry Boot Development Ltd.
But he also said the council wanted to work with the local community as it came up with its plan on how it wants the town centre to look by 2026.
“We want to work with all our strategic partners in the town to make sure we come up with a plan that is best for everyone. Obviously, the council has a part to play in this but we don’t want people to think that we are forcing ourselves on them.
“We have to work with private businesses, taxi-drivers, land-owners and services like the police and health service to see what’s best for the town.
“There’s also the opportunity for us to combine some developments with new leisure facilities and even some new housing for the town centre, possibly for the elderly.”
In a bid to involve local people, Mr Vanstone said the council would hold a meeting early in the new year inviting people to have their say on what they want from a redeveloped town centre.
Councillor Bruce Boughton, cabinet member for economic development and enterprise for Tamworth Borough Council, said: “The preparation of the masterplan is a highly-significant project that will help establish the direction of change for Tamworth town centre.
“Tamworth has great potential and this thought-provoking report identifies a range of opportunities that could help translate our ambitious regeneration aspirations into a deliverable, robust and managed plan going forward.”