Mark Eastwood MP: £20 million in new levelling up money for Dewsbury town centre

​​Good news has a habit of turning up all at the same time, and while I was celebrating a brilliantly deserved win for the Moonlight Trust at the BBC Radio Leeds Make A Difference Awards, I received the incredible news that our town would be receiving £20 million in new levelling up money!
Mark Eastwood MP at Dewsbury’s Lantern Festival for World Mental Health day.Mark Eastwood MP at Dewsbury’s Lantern Festival for World Mental Health day.
Mark Eastwood MP at Dewsbury’s Lantern Festival for World Mental Health day.

Mark Eastwood MP writes: On top of the £24 million I had already secured, this money represents the biggest investment in our town centre for generations, and I’ve been proud to have played a part in making sure we receive it.

But this new funding comes with an important safeguard that I think is more important than ever considering Kirklees Council’s current financial dire straits – the projects will have more of a say from a board of local residents, and won’t be decided entirely by Local Authority councillors and officers.

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Where previously the local authority needed to submit a bid for a specific project, this money is already guaranteed, and can be spent on the priorities of local businesses, shoppers and residents.

This funding could not have come at a better time for Dewsbury. I’ve been disappointed that the work on the market has not yet begun – as your MP I can apply pressure but Kirklees have to start the project.

It’s even more important that we see progress in light of the fact that if this project is not on track by 2026 we will lose the money, and the chance to improve our town with it.

Local people have been the driving force behind regeneration in Dewsbury, and I know that there are committed locals behind other projects like the Heritage Lottery funding grant that will restore our historic Arcade.

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The need for these projects to go ahead was really clear last week at Dewsbury’s Lantern Festival for World Mental Health day. It was really encouraging to see so many families in the town centre, even after dark, and I hope that our town’s regeneration will mean many more events like this to come.

Alongside the cash boost for Dewsbury Town Centre, the other recent major announcement has been the scrapping of HS2 due to spiralling costs. I’m pleased though that this money has not just gone back to the Treasury, and instead has been reallocated to what most people tell me is a priority – more investment in local services.

The Northern Network, the West Yorkshire mass transit system and upgrades to local stations are all vital for us all to be able to use the rail network on a daily basis – and won’t just benefit people like me who need to travel to London!

If you read my column regularly or follow me on social media, you will have seen that I have been standing up for rail passengers since I was elected – I have been working with my local colleagues to ensure that the Penistone Line receives funding, and Mirfield will benefit too with investment in the accessibility upgrades that are sorely needed.

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I’m always keen to hear your views on this or any other issue in our local area. If you’d like to contact me or need my help, my team and I are here to assist.

Contact me by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 01924 939 007

Thank you for reading.