“If the government is serious about getting up to speed, they will work with me to build a future-fit Denton town centre,” MP Andrew Gwynne wrote in his latest column for The Reporter.

I have always believed in the importance of city centres. A good downtown connects communities, makes us proud of where we live and strengthens local businesses.

This conviction has led me to support a new financing offer for new investments in Denton town centre. Over the past few years, we have seen the rise of ‘Destination Denton’. In 2020, Denton saw the highest growth in new independent businesses, ahead of any other UK town centre. I’ve had an amazing time over the past two years visiting these new restaurants, bars and shops and have been inspired by the ambition of Denton’s entrepreneurs.

Now we need to make sure these businesses get the support they need to thrive as we recover from the pandemic, while also making sure residents have a downtown they can be proud of.

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

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

We have also recently seen initiatives such as the Hats Off to Denton sculpture trail, which Tameside Council organized earlier this year. This project celebrated the unique and fascinating history of Denton millinery. I want to see more programs like this in the months and years to come, we have incredible local history, and we shouldn’t be afraid to celebrate it.

It’s my job to fight for this extra funding for Denton, and I don’t plan on letting the government get a moment of peace. We hear a lot about the importance of “leveling up” in these areas, but many times I have been less than impressed with the government’s willingness to level communities like Denton. This must change.

I will optimistically support this offer and look forward to making the case to the government that this investment will have a hugely positive impact on the people and communities of Greater Manchester.

If the government is serious about getting up to speed, they will work with me to build a future-fit Denton town centre.

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