West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) today (Fri 9 Dec) approved its biggest slice of devolution funding to date - almost £100 million for a city centre development in Coventry.
This cash from the combined authority effectively gives Coventry City Council the go-ahead for the much anticipated City Centre South scheme.
At its meeting this morning the WMCA Board passed a report brought by finance and investment lead Cllr Izzi Seccombe, to approve a grant of up to £98.8m – for the project, which was first discussed in 2011.
Plans include a major retail, residential and leisure scheme, including a top name anchor store, new homes and a cinema.
WMCA chair, Cllr Bob Sleigh, said the funding decision was devolution in action – exactly the kind of big difference the combined authority was created to make.
He said: “This is a great example of how our devolution deal is beginning to have a real impact – and this funding would not be available without the combined authority.
“Yes we are here to set policy - but we are also here to make a difference to people’s lives in ways they can see and feel, with more jobs, a growing economy and better quality of life.
“Supporting projects on this scale is key to that aim and this comes hard on the heels of last week’s announcement of major investment in Kingswood in Cannock.”
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council added: “I'm delighted that the combined authority has approved £98.8 million investment for the redevelopment of our city centre.
"We've got ambitious and exciting plans for City Centre South, which will include new shops, a cinema, homes and a new car park that will transform the area around Bull Yard, Shelton Square and Market Way.
“It's no less than Coventry people deserve and a wonderful early Christmas present for the city.
"Coventry people have waited too long for improvements to the city centre. But this cash is a real boost and will mean we can crack on and select a developer.
“We said we would make sure that our residents felt the benefits of our membership of the Combined Authority and this is the first cash boost, with more to come."
Cllr Seccombe said: “I’m delighted the combined authority has been able to support this scheme.
“Not only is it excellent news for Coventry - but development on this scale also means a significant boost to the wider regional economy.”