"We have to make sure it is brought into the 21st century and this scheme could give us the opportunity to do just that."
Marcus Jones MP
Two major political figures in Nuneaton have urged local people to come forward with ideas to improve the town in a “once in a generation” opportunity.
The town is one of 100 locations bidding for £25 million as part of the Government’s Towns Fund designed to transform town centres across England.
A Town Deal Board has been formed and will be working up a bid in the next couple of months – and is asking local people to submit ideas and projects they think could improve Nuneaton.
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council leader Cllr Julie Jackson and MP Marcus Jones both sit on the board alongside council, community and business representatives and believes public input is vital in the success of the bid.
Marcus Jones MP said: “Town centres are at a crossroads for many different reasons, and this funding really gives Nuneaton and its people a chance to shape its future and to ensure the heart of the town remains a relevant and vibrant place.
“We have to make sure it is brought into the 21st century and this scheme could give us the opportunity to do just that.
“We have really good road and rail connections, and a great number of towns will envy our location. We now have to make the most of that potential and the Towns Fund is one way of making that happen so that we can create jobs and bring back much-needed civic pride to our area.”
Improvements need to fall into one or more five key areas - local transport, digital connectivity, urban regeneration, arts, culture and heritage, and skills - to qualify for the funding, and projects will be included in a Town Investment Plan, which is being drawn up to submit to the Government.
He added: “Personally I certainly believe some improvements will need to be around leisure to reflect the change in the retail economy, and we also have to have more people living in the heart of the town to ensure it has more life and vitality.
“We have to seize the initiative and the ultimate bid will only be as good as the ideas which are put forward, so I would urge people to take advantage of what is really a once in a generation opportunity.”
Nuneaton residents now have until the end of the month to submit their ideas, before a number of shortlisted ideas are put forward for a second round of consultation.
Cllr Julie Jackson said: “We have been really pleased with the level of responses we have had in the first week or so but it is vital for people to come forward and tell the board how they see the future of the town and how we can shape our bid to bring real and lasting improvements.
“The five areas will help guide people and shape their thoughts in how we can take the town forward to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing economy.
“I would urge everyone to contribute. Opportunities like this do not come along very often and it is imperative that we put forward as strong a case as possible to bring the funding to our town.”
For further information about the campaign and to submit an idea visit www.mytownnuneaton.co.uk
To keep up-to-date with the initiative, follow @MyTown _Nuneaton on Twitter and My Town Nuneaton at Facebook.