REDDITCH Council's ruling Labour group have been accused of sitting on £5m which could help revitalise the town's tired and dated centre.

The Advertiser reported in March last year that Redditch was set to receive a £5m boost to transform the town centre and make it a more attractive place to live, visit and invest.

The boost was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond, and would see the cash ploughed in as part of an ambitious plan to help the Midlands become an economic powerhouse.

Just a day after delivering his first budget, the Chancellor visited the Midlands and announced £17.5m will be pumped into Worcestershire.

The funding included £5m to transform Redditch’s town centre.

However, one year on and the money is nowhere to be seen.

Following a recent council meeting where the £5m was mentioned Conservative councillor Juliet Brunner blasted the Labour group saying they been sitting on it, squandering the opportunity to make a real change.

Cllr Brunner, group leader for the Conservatives, said: “This £5m was part of a £17.5m package that was put together by the Conservative government into the local enterprise partnerships to invest in the local economy.

"To get the money we need to submit a business case that provides details about what we’re going to spend the money on.

“When I pressed officers at the council to tell me when we would be ready to submit the business all I was told was ‘some point before the end of 2018’. That’s not ambitious, and it’s not how we unlock Redditch and release its full potential.”

She added: “Re-hashing old stories about money they haven’t secured yet shows how desperate Labour have become to look like they’re doing something about our town centre when there is a local election in a couple of months, when in reality they’ve done very little over six years.”

Labour's Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Council, said that the cash is earmarked in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) from the Local Growth Fund. 

"To access that £5m funding a business case needs to be submitted and approved," he said. 

"The business case will be submitted by the end of the calendar year.

"Officers have been working hard with partners over the last 12 months to put together plans for the town centre (which will ultimately inform the business case for the £5m funding)."

He said they are now at a stage where the proposals need to be considered by elected councillors in March.

Cllr Hartnett added: "The proposals are exciting and will transform the town centre. I look forward to seeing the proposals being supported."