Plans to transform the site of a former gas works in Nuneaton town centre into a bustling leisure destination are being backed by a £775,000 investment from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The site in Abbey Street is to be regenerated in two phases, the first being a 145-bedroom hotel creating more than 30 new jobs.
The second phase is earmarked for a cinema, offices, homes and a public plaza. The WMCA investment will help cover the cost of demolition work and the clean-up of the land, needed so work can start on the £30m phase one.
The move is part of a major drive by the WMCA, working closely with local authorities, to breathe new life into the region’s town centres and high streets by providing support and funding for regeneration schemes. The Abbey Street investment is also part of the WMCA’s nationally leading brownfield regeneration programme which is transforming hundreds of acres of former industrial sites across the region with high quality, affordable homes and modern premises for job creating businesses to move into.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Even before the pandemic many of our town centres and high streets were struggling as more people turned to online shopping and it had become clear that towns had to diversify in what they could offer to visitors.
“The future of the high street will not be just about retail it will also be about public services, small businesses, community activities and homes. That’s why I’m so pleased the WMCA has been able to support this exciting scheme in Nuneaton town centre.
“This is yet another example of the brownfield investments we have continued to make throughout the pandemic to help drive our region’s economic recovery and provide affordable homes and good quality jobs for local people.”
The Abbey Street development is part of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s extensive Transforming Nuneaton programme of works. In addition to the planned hotel the wider site is also earmarked for leisure buildings, a food hall, college facility and a multi-storey car park.
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council leader Cllr Kristofer Wilson explained: “Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council is working hard to build on every opportunity we can find to strengthen our offer for the rest of the region and the UK.
“Our borough’s location at the heart of the country is a critical factor to the contribution we can make. This vital funding from the WMCA will ensure that Nuneaton town centre is ready to play its part to the full in the economic powerhouse that is the West Midlands.”
Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, added: “Many of our town centres need to re-invent themselves to meet the challenges of the 21st Century and the needs of our residents. As we look to recover from the pandemic, the WMCA is continuing to help councils rejuvenate and improve their town centres by investing and supporting schemes like Abbey Street.”