A major regeneration plan, informed by residents and put together by a partnership of local businesses and community representatives to help transform Morley, has been submitted for funding as part of the government’s Towns Fund project.
Developed by the Morley Town Deal Board with support from Leeds City Council, the Town Investment Plan, bidding for up to £25m, will now be reviewed by central government, with a decision expected in the coming months.
The projects forming the Town Investment Plan are:
· The New Pavilion Skills Campus, which will see the historic site redeveloped into a high-quality adult skills hub.
· Work on Morley Town Hall and Town Square, delivering a high-quality refurbishment of the Grade-one listed building and developing a cluster of arts and culture spaces.
· The Morley Station Gateway, building upon Network Rail investment to better connect the train station to the town centre and the wider Morley region.
· A Heritage Investment Fund, targeting improvements to prominent town centre buildings through restoration and re-use, as well as business support.
· A Greener Town, delivering comprehensive new and upgraded greenspace across Morley, tackling local air quality and health challenges.
· The White Rose Innovation Hub, coordinating the delivery of new enterprise and learning spaces, as well as a high-quality smart cities development centre for Morley.
· Connecting Morley, delivering a comprehensive infrastructure upgrade, with a focus on active travel routes connecting residents with opportunities to learn, work and exercise.
These proposals were informed by a large-scale public consultation, designed to hear the ideas and views of residents and businesses in Morley, which saw responses from over 1,600 people and directly fed into the finalised projects.
If accepted, the Morley Town Deal Board will develop the projects in further detail over the next 12 months to deliver on local priorities like skills, jobs, greenspace, sustainable travel and bringing cherished buildings back into use.
In the meantime, a number of smaller projects, funded by government to help kickstart longer term growth plans for Morley, are set to be completed in the spring. This work is focused across the town centre, with public art pieces planned alongside improvements at Morley Bottoms, on Queen Street and in Scatcherd and Lewisham parks.
Andrea Jenkyns, Member of Parliament for Morley and Outwood, said:
“Ever since Morley was selected as one of the 101 towns that could bid for the Towns Fund, I have been extremely excited by what it could mean for the people of Morley. From developing jobs and skills in the area to growing our greenspaces and developing our transport connectivity, I am delighted by the diverse range of projects found in this submission.
“I truly believe the vision laid out here will help Morley stand out for years to come and hope to see the submission accepted so work can begin in earnest on this exciting next chapter.”
Gerald Jennings, Chair of the Morley Town Deal Board, said:
“When the Morley Town Deal Board was established, we were keen to build on the town’s proud history and unique identity in a way which confidently faces the future. From restoring historic buildings for new uses to investing in sustainably connecting our town, I believe our proposals achieve just that.
“We were blown away by the ideas of residents and businesses on how they wanted to see Morley transformed, and I hope we can deliver this funding to help achieve their vision.”