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Prime Minister’s Towns Tsar visits Canvey Island

11 May Prime Minister’s Towns Tsar visits Canvey Island

The Government’s Towns Unit Chairman Adam Hawksbee has visited Canvey Island to hear more about local plans.

Earlier this year, as part of the Government’s Spring Budget it was announced that Canvey Island would become one of the 75 towns to join the £1.5 billion Long-term Plan for Towns Scheme.

The town will receive up to £20m of funding and support over 10 years to invest in communities and regeneration.

On Thursday 9 May representatives from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, including the Towns Unit Chairman Adam Hawksbee, visited Canvey Island to learn more about local plans to improve the town.

They met with representatives from Castle Point Borough Council, Essex County Council and Rebecca Harris, the Member of Parliament for Castle Point.

Local plans for the fund were discussed including improvements to:

Safety and security
High street, heritage and regeneration
Transport and connectivity
A key announcement at the visit was the introduction of a new Town Board. This board will be made up of community and business representatives along with council members and Rebecca Harris, MP. The aim of the board will be to set the vision for the town and develop investment proposals.

Mr Hawksbee was taken on a tour of the local area and shown key sites that might benefit from the fund. This included the Town centre including the Knightswick shopping centre and the High Street, the Paddocks community centre and the seafront.

Adam Hawksbee said: “I was delighted to be in Canvey Island this week to discuss the Long-Term Plan for Towns, and how the programme is putting local people in control of the important decisions being made about its future. It was fantastic to meet community leaders with so much passion for their town, and hear about their work.

“This funding will support the Canvey Island Towns Board to invest in making Canvey Island an even better place to live, so local people can reach their full potential. I am excited to see what the future of the town holds.”

Councillor Dave Blackwell, Leader, Castle Point Borough Council, said: “It was a pleasure to host colleagues from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and share our vision for the future of Canvey Island. We are looking forward to the imminent establishment of the independent board, which will be driven by local people to ensure that this investment has maximum impact for the locality and its residents.”

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Levelling up, Communities and Business Engagement at Essex County Council said: “It was great to have colleagues from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities visit Canvey Island, I am delighted that the government has recognised the potential of the town and look forward to working with them going forward to turn the ambitious vision into reality. The funding allocated through the towns fund will help to build on the work already being done as part of our Levelling Up programme in this area and will transform opportunities for local people.”

Councillor Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy at Essex County Council, said: “It was a pleasure to host government colleagues and share our vision for the future of Canvey Island. This funding will make a significant difference to not only the people that live in Canvey Island but those who choose to work or do business there. With regeneration comes a world of opportunities, whether that be employment opportunities or creating the right environment for business to grow and flourish. The town is full of potential, and this funding and support from government will help us and our local council partners build an even better Canvey Island.”

Rebecca Harris MP, said: “It was good that the Head of the Government Towns Unit came down to meet some of the businesses and community groups on the Island to explain how the £20 million can be used. It was made clear that it has to be the local community in the driving seat for this, with an independent Towns Team Board responsible for deciding just how this money is spent. I look forward to hearing what residents of Canvey want to do with this huge amount of money to improve the Island.”

Essex County Council and Castle Point Borough Council have been working together to develop shared priorities to improve Canvey Island. The shared priorities aim to ‘level up’ the area and include:

Employment and opportunities for young people post 16
Safe community spaces
Sharing of information, services, and guidance for parents with under-5s
Housing conditions
Community hub