A 'PEOPLE'S Panel' of borough residents will help decide the future of Dudley and Brierley Hill town centres, in a new bid to breath life into the high streets.

Dudley Council has received £60,000 from national government to capture the ideas of residents to see what can be done to regenerate the centres.

Next month will see letters will go out to 10,000 randomly selected people across the borough, inviting them to apply to take part in the panel, before an independent team will then assess the applications before selecting a group of 50 people that represents a broad cross-section of the borough.

The group will meet over four days in November to discuss the issues and question experts to form ideas to improve the town centres and each person taking part will receive £300 plus expenses for their time.

The panel will then draw up detailed recommendations to present to councillors, as part of a pilot scheme in which Dudley Council is only one of three local authorities in the country to take part.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said: "We want to give members of the public more say over decisions that affect them and their communities.

"As part of this, we are thrilled to be one of only three councils selected by the government to set up a People’s Panel.

"It will allow us to capture the thoughts of borough residents on how we can help our town centres thrive.

"Current regeneration projects in Dudley and Brierley Hill have the potential to significantly change how these town centres are used in the next five years, so it is important to have public input here.

"It is particularly timely given the announcement this week that we have moved a step closer towards securing significant funding for Brierley Hill High Street, with this new panel able to discuss what it would like to see that money spent on."

People's Panels, also known as Citizen Assemblies, are used all over the world to discuss and make recommendations to improve communities.