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Gwynne column: Fighting to level up Denton

"If the Government is serious about levelling up, it will work with me to build a Denton town centre that is fit for the future," writes MP Andrew Gwynne in his latest Reporter column.

I’ve always believed in the importance of town centres. A good town centre connects communities, gives us pride in where we live, and empowers local businesses.

This belief has led me to back a new funding bid for further investment in Denton’s town centre. Over the last few years, we have seen the rise of ‘Destination Denton’. Back in 2020, Denton saw the largest growth of new independent businesses, ahead of any other town centre in the UK. I’ve had a brilliant time over the last couple of years visiting these new restaurants, bars and shops and have been inspired by the ambition of Denton’s entrepreneurs.

We now need to make sure that these businesses are given the support they need to thrive as we recover from the pandemic, whilst also ensuring that local people have a town centre that they can be proud of.

This bid would do that, which is why it has the strong backing of both myself and Tameside Council. If successful, the submission would secure £20m in investment to improve public spaces, create new walking and cycling facilities and attract additional investment in the local economy. It’s important to say that the bid is still in its early stages, but it is an incredibly exciting prospect.

We have already seen the power that local investment can have on Denton and surrounding areas. We’ve seen the £15m Denton Wellness Centre, as well as great housing and urban regeneration projects.

We’ve also recently seen initiatives like the Hats Off to Denton sculpture trail, which Tameside Council ran earlier this year. This project celebrated Denton’s unique and fascinating hatting history. I want to see more schemes like this over the coming months and years ahead, we have an incredible local history, and we shouldn’t be afraid of celebrating it.

It’s my job to fight for this additional funding for Denton, and I don’t plan on letting the Government get a moments peace. We hear an awful lot in these parts about the importance of ‘levelling up’, but on several occasions I’ve been less than impressed with the willingness of the Government to level up communities like Denton. That needs to change.

I will back this bid with optimism and look forward to making the argument to the Government that this investment will have a hugely positive impact on people and communities right across Greater Manchester.

If the Government is serious about levelling up, it will work with me to build a Denton town centre that is fit for the future.

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