The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that the people of Blyth are to benefit from an increase in government investment to level up the town.
Funding of £20.7 million will be used to regenerate run-down housing, increase opportunities and boost local pride as part of the government’s levelling up agenda. Measures will be mainly based around housing, employment support, anti-social behaviour and health, with the intervention coming only months after the signing of the North East’s historic deal for devolution.
Michael Gove, Levelling Up Secretary, said:
“For too long, Blyth has been deprived of the opportunities to make the most of its startling potential.
“Deeply entrenched issues require an ambitious solution, which is why we have worked closely with local leaders on a package of measures that will improve the lives of the local community.
“Through revitalising dilapidated housing, upskilling the next generation and cracking down on crime, this tow is finally getting the attention and investment it deserves to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”
Measures to level up Blyth include:
- A funding boost of £18 million to repurpose run-down and empty homes, turning them into high-quality affordable housing that is available for rent. Under-occupied offices will also be turned into new apartments, whilst some of the funding is also to be utilised to ensure that social housing is more energy-efficient.
- Support for employment is to be improved thanks to almost £1.5 million of the funding, with this being used to fund new high-tech training equipment at Blyth’s Energy Central Campus. This will help to provide local young people with access to jobs of high-quality, right on their doorsteps.
- CCCTV provision and new partnerships between local businesses and the police will use £200,000 to reduce anti-social behaviour in Blyth. This initiative will begin to target anti-social behaviour, substance misuse and theft .
- Local partnerships between Jobcentre Plus and NHS services are to be strengthened to allow more people with disabilities and health conditions to be supported as they start, stay and succeed in work. Northumbria Council is also working alongside the Department of Health and Social Care to help more smokers to quit. This will work alongside the £35 million that was allocated to address health inequalities across the entirety of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System over the course of three years.
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Cllr Glen Sanderson, said:
“This is a significant investment and fantastic news for Blyth. It means we can deliver better homes, improve neighbourhoods and reduce crime in partnership with Northumbria Police, local businesses and the community.
“Investment at the Energy Central Campus and additional support to connect NHS services and Job Centre support will help residents to secure jobs in the town’s clean energy industry.
“Today’s announcement boosts the multi-million-pound investment already planned through the council’s Energising Blyth Programme and Northumberland Line meaning we can now go further to realise Blyth’s huge potential at the heart of the Northumberland and the North East economy.”
Guy Opperman, Minister for Employment, added:
“A £1.5 million boost to Blyth’s job market to help young people secure, stay and succeed in higher quality, better paying jobs in the green energy industry is something close to my heart.
“I’m certain these measures will put Blyth on the map as an area of opportunity, growth and prosperity.”