Nuneaton has been named as the town offering the best economic opportunities in the whole of the UK in 2023 according to a highly-respected expert report.
The 2023 UK Vitality Index is an annual health assessment of the UK’s largest towns and cities outside London, undertaken by property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton.
The report includes an Opportunity Ranking and this year that list is topped by Nuneaton, ahead of St Helens, Wigan, Telford and Wakefield.
Such growth potential was identified due to the population growth forecasts for 20-44-year-olds in Nuneaton and the input of government funding, the town having made successful bids to the Future High Streets Fund and Towns Fund.
Nuneaton is also benefiting from the Transforming Nuneaton Programme, delivered by Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council. This is a suite of projects designed to provide Nuneaton with the economic boost it needs and help it become a strong hub for its community.
Transforming Nuneaton focuses on diversifying the offer in the town centre, recognising that the town needs to evolve to meet the needs of our future communities. The programme is creating opportunities for new businesses by opening up new office work spaces, growing the leisure offer, specifically at Grayson Place, so that people have new reasons to come into the town.
The programme is also supporting skills and education by facilitating the provision of new learning spaces in the town centre, bringing in new residential schemes and improving local infrastructure to enable the town to grow.
The funding secured by the councils, from both government and internal capital investment, has driven the programme forward. Delivery is picking up pace as a new hotel begins to take shape and key demolition begins to make way for the new leisure offer.
All these initiatives are helping the resurgence of Nuneaton and for the town to be pinpointed by independent experts as a home of such rich potential is “brilliant news,” says Jo Williams, who runs Joco Gifts and Terry's Bed Centre in Queens Road.
"It's absolutely fantastic, said Jo. “It's clear from the fact that there are shops opening in Nuneaton that people are already looking to invest here and for the town to be named as number one for potential is brilliant news.
“There's going to be such a buzz around the town in the months and years ahead with all the planned redevelopment work and opportunities coming up, not only for retail but leisure facilities, office space and residential and the college is moving into the town centre.
“It’s no wonder people from outside are looking at us and saying, 'I want a part of that.' That’s great to see. Now some local people need to share that positivity about what we have got rather than dwelling on negativity about what we don't have.
“We all know things have been a little bit tough but I'm really positive about Nuneaton town Centre. I've lived here all my life and have invested tens of thousands of pounds in the businesses and am really proud to be here.”
Warwickshire County Council’s Strategic Director for Communities, Mark Ryder said: “It is excellent news that the rich economic potential of Nuneaton, which we all know about here
locally, has been identified at a national level. Everyone that reads this well-respected list will no doubt want to know more about Nuneaton and we will warmly welcome their interest and hopefully their investment.
“The Transforming Nuneaton programme continues to advance excitingly and WCC will continue to do everything it can to support and promote the town.”
Cllr Kris Wilson, Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said:
"It is fantastic news that Nuneaton is recognised nationally as the place to invest for the second year running, and proves that we are the on the right track in regenerating Nuneaton. With joint funding from both the Borough and County Councils, together with successful bids to the Future High Streets Fund and Towns Fund alongside the Transforming Nuneaton Programme, we have many exciting plans in the pipeline and much to look forward to.
"Most recently we have seen our landmark 2.3-hectare Grayson Place development on Abbey Street gathering pace. Set to become a new focal point for the town, the venue will bring new leisure and culture facilities - creating jobs, homes and boosting economic growth. Nuneaton has such a fantastic wealth of economic potential, and we are so pleased to be able to say that we are well on the path to unlocking this."