Nuneaton and Bedworth welcomed a high-profile visitor when Laura Shoaf paid a fact-finding visit to Nuneaton.
Laura is Chief Executive Officer of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and she was accompanied by Rob Lamond, Strategic Planning Manager for the authority.
The purpose of the visit was to view key projects in the Transforming Nuneaton programme, with WMCA having contributed around £800,000 to help cover the cost of demolition work and the clean-up of the land, needed so work can start on the £30m phase one which includes a digital skills and innovation centre as part of the Abbey Street project.
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.
Laura arrived at Nuneaton Rail Station, and her first destination was Nuneaton Town Hall where she saw displays highlighting the Transforming Nuneaton and Transforming Bedworth projects as well as a Transforming Bedworth presentation.
Laura then had a tour of Nuneaton town centre, taking in Bridge Street, Vicarage Street, Abbey Street, Queens Road, Dugdale Street, George Eliot Memorial Gardens and Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.
“Covid has hit many of our high streets hard which is why the WMCA has continued to invest tens of millions of pounds throughout the pandemic to regenerate unwanted urban sites for new homes and jobs and help councils rejuvenate and improve their town centres with exciting new schemes like Abbey Street.
“I was very impressed with what I saw during my visit to Nuneaton as well as being able to see the Transforming Nuneaton and Bedworth displays.
“The scale of this project is inspiring as is the ambition connected with it and the WMCA is delighted to be working alongside Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council on something as wonderful as this.’’
The group then returned to the Town Hall, where Laura discussed next steps with Brent Davis, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s Chief Executive before departing.
Mr Davis added:
“It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Laura to our Borough and show her how the Transforming Nuneaton project is progressing as well as being able to show her details of the Transforming Bedworth plans.
“We are delighted to be working with the WMCA and are grateful for all the authority’s help which is not only financial, and we are thoroughly looking forward to working with them in the coming years.’’