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Eccles set for £5.4m redevelopment cash to make town centre ‘thrive again’

Plans to redevelop Eccles town centre have been boosted by a £5.4m funding contribution to Salford city council.

The cash will come from the new Capital Regeneration Projects initiative announced in yesterday’s budget by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

It comes after Eccles was turned down for levelling up funding in 2022, despite Salford’s townships not receiving national funding from the Government to date.

Eccles narrowly missed out on support last year, but the proposal to reinvigorate the town centre has now been assessed as a high-quality plan and will benefit from the same level of funding that was previously bid for.

The proposal and creation of ‘a new vision for Eccles’, developed jointly between the city council, residents, local businesses and stakeholders, is part of the council’s commitment to improving the town centre, say town hall bosses.

They say their vision is to make Eccles ‘a thriving town centre once again’.

According to city mayor Paul Dennett, the recent purchase of Eccles Shopping Centre was the first step in bringing the vision to life and securing a brighter future for the town centre.

He said the long-term plan will now see the council continuing to work with the local community as well as seeking a development partner to help bring this shared vision to life. The goal is to create ‘a vibrant town centre where people can eat, meet and play’, he said.

There will be a focus on building a place that celebrates its heritage whilst forging a new future for itself – a place where residents can choose to live and work as well as taking advantage of the town’s connectivity.

Mr Dennett said that, following positive regeneration across other parts of the city, the focus of ambition for the city council has now turned to its town centres.

Eccles plays an important role in Salford’s future and needs to experience the same levels of support in order for it to not be left behind, he said.

Mr Dennett this week been at the international property event MIPIM in Cannes. He said the opportunities that come with a redevelopment of Eccles town centre ‘have been shared on a global stage’.

He said: “It’s no secret that in recent years Eccles, like many other town centres up and down the county, has faced decline.

“So, the announcement in the Spring Budget is welcome and provides much-needed funding for the city. However, it was also much-needed funding last year and, as a team, we were extremely disappointed that Eccles did not receive essential levelling up funding in 2022.

“We have always been committed to delivering real, impactful change in Eccles town centre and we have a plan that we are consulting on and will be implementing.

“This started with our purchase of Eccles Shopping Centre and continues through our engagement with the community, local businesses and stakeholders, whilst also seizing the moment to raise awareness of the future of Eccles town centre through our time at MIPIM.

“This is long-overdue funding and I’m glad the town centre is now getting the support it badly needs. It is right that the needs of Eccles and its residents and local businesses have been re-evaluated under the new Capital Regeneration Projects initiative.

“I’d like to thank the team at the council behind our initial proposal for their dedication and hard work and for not giving up on our commitment to get Eccles the support it rightly deserves.”

Conservative opposition leader Robin Garrido also welcomed the funding.

“I am delighted that the Government have listened to us and accepted that this is a scheme which will regenerate an area which has been lacking investment for many years.

“We do believe however that this regeneration of Eccles town centre should also include a mix of housing as well as retail, commercial and leisure facilities.

“By also including housing you are giving local people the opportunity to live close to where they work thereby reducing travel and cost of getting to work but it will also help to bring the town centre back to life. To succeed it must be a place to live, work and play.”

The Salford town is one of 16 regeneration projects across England that will be in receipt of funding from an allocated investment of over £200m.

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