Labour's Lisa Nandy makes no promises of extra cash as Telford redevelopment plan faces £4.7m funding gap
A leading Labour politician made no promises of extra money when she visited Telford on Friday.
Lisa Nandy MP, the shadow secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities was on a fact finding visit to look at how Labour-controlled Telford & Wrekin Council works in partnership with various organisations on high spending projects.
The council says it is facing a £4.7m funding gap for the redevelopment of Station Quarter as prices for building materials has increased by more than 30 per cent over the last few years.
Ms Nandy said if Labour wins the next General Election they will face the "worst economic situation since the Second World War". But she did not promise to come back to Telford with any magic money tree.
"We will be thinking more creatively as the next Labour government," she said. "I came to see some of the pioneering work Telford & Wrekin Council are doing."
She said she is impressed by the way the council is responding to a "fall in value of levelling up funds which is putting projects all over the country at risk."
Ms Nandy praised the council for the way it is partnering with organisations like pension funds to create the investment needed to deliver the ambitious Station Quarter redevelopment plans.
It includes placing the college at the centre of the town and new housing to attract and retain workers, using education as a way of rebuilding the economy.
And she was also finding out more about how the council's wholly owned housing company Nuplace builds and manages homes for private rent across the borough.
She also met with officials at Wrekin Housing Group to see for herself the partnership between the housing association and the council.
"It's a smart way to build the housing stock to deliver for the people who live here." she said.
Ms Nandy revealed that council leader Shaun Davies had asked her to commit to providing more money for transport during her visit. "He doesn't miss a trick," she said.
Ms Nandy had many words of praise for Councillor Davies who is seeking to become an MP at the next General Election, and for the people of Telford.
She praised the borough for being the birthplace of the industrial revolution and promised she was going to "put Telford at the centre of the story again."
"We will be going out every day making the case to the British public to elect a Labour government," she said. "We won't be taking any vote for granted.
"We have had 13 years of no economic growth and front loaded cuts to public services. We have had a decade of decay and decline."
Ms Nandy, who has a career background in child protection, also praised the council for the way it responded to the child abuse scandal by not "brushing the issue under the carpet."
She said she has been watching what happened here in response and had been impressed by Telford's commitment to holding an independent inquiry and following up on the report.
Councillor Shaun Davies said Ms Nandy would also be seeing some of the borough's sustainable housing developments at Nuplace.
He also explained the "ongoing issues with the soaring costs for our ambitious Station Quarter development.
"The rising costs are due to inflation and it’s just about impossible to plan for this kind of financial volatility.
“Many Towns Fund projects across the country are stalling because of this.
"We have raised the issue with government, but with no additional funding available from Westminster, we are now exploring other options to plug the funding gap.
"I’m determined to make these ambitious plans a reality for our residents.”