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Byline: Martin Bagot

COVENTRY council has won the chance to bid for pounds 24 million of government money to improve the economy and increase the quality of life in the city.

The Future Cities funding pot will be awarded to the city which submits the best masterplan to "integrate their transport, communications and other infrastructure". The windfall would be provided by the government-funded Technology Strategy Board but Coventry faces a battle with 29 other councils across the UK.

All 30 local authorities have been handed pounds 50,000 each to develop feasibility studies, followed by a 'future cities demonstrator' plan of what they could do with the pounds 24 million.

The successful city is expected to develop a plan to improve things such as eco-friendly transport networks, energy efficiency and superfast broadband.

Coun Lynnette Kelly, cabinet member for city development at Coventry City Council, said: "I'm delighted that we have been awarded this money.

"It provides an excellent opportunity to help develop our plans for Coventry's economic growth.

"Of course the real prize is the next round of funding so we'll be working hard to ensure we stand the best chance of securing it for Coventry."

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: "We planned originally to fund twenty feasibility studies but because of the number of high quality initial proposals received from councils across the whole country we decided to increase the funding available so that thirty studies could be carried out.

"The results will be made public and we look forward to seeing some exciting future city demonstrator proposals."

The Technology Strategy Board's remit is to accelerate economic growth by supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, it aims to bring together businesses and the public sector.

Other local authorities bidding for the Future Cities pot include Belfast, Birmingham, Camden, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester.

The city council's plan needs to be submitted by November 14.The winning local authority will be announced in January 2013.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 28, 2012
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