Glastonbury Town Deal Frequently Asked Questions
Glastonbury Town Deal frequently asked questions.
What is the Glastonbury Town Deal?
This Town Deal is an agreement in principle between government, the lead council (in this case Mendip District Council) and the Glastonbury Town Deal Board. It sets out a vision and strategy for the town, and what each party agrees to do to achieve this vision. In our case, this is all documented in the Glastonbury Town Investment Plan, which can be found here: Glastonbury Town Investment Plan.
What is the Glastonbury Town Deal funding intended to deliver?
The intention is for the Glastonbury Town Deal funding to deliver a necessary economic development opportunity for the town, bringing existing assets back into community use, and working with the local community to deliver the spaces and resources that they want and need. The overall aim is for Glastonbury to be a sustainable, prosperous, modern town and global tourist centre, drawing on its rural landscape, history and unique legacy.
What is the difference between the Glastonbury Town Deal and the Towns Fund?
The Towns Fund is a £3.6bn fund that is being used to invest in towns across England as part of the government's plan to level up our regions. The fund will support an initial 101 places, including Glastonbury, to develop Town Deal proposals, to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. In summary, the Towns Fund is the pot of money that has the potential to pay for the Town Deal for Glastonbury, i.e., the projects outlined in the Town Investment Plan, once they have successfully passed through a rigorous HM Treasury Business Case process.
What are the Glastonbury Accelerator Projects?
Each of the 101 towns selected by the government to work towards a Town Deal received Accelerated Funding last year for investment in capital projects that would have an immediate impact and help places 'build back better' in the wake of Covid-19. This was effectively an early release of some of the Towns Fund money to kickstart projects up to the value of £500k in each town during the last six months of 2020. The Glastonbury Town Deal Board led a successful application for £500k of Accelerator Funding in August 2020, with the five Glastonbury Accelerator Projects being:
- Building C, Establishment of the Life Factory, Phase One
- St Edmund's Community Hall Enhancements
- Herbie's Field Improvements
- Glastonbury Town Centre Refurbishments
- The Glastonbury Way
The Glastonbury Town Deal Board developed and approved the Accelerator Projects, with all grant monies having to be spent by 31 March 2021. All five projects were completed on time and on budget. Over 2,200 hours of in-kind support from people in the local community made it all happen, which is a shining example of what Glastonbury can do!
How was Glastonbury consulted?
This whole bid for the Town Investment Plan was based on a community consultation and only bids arising from that process were taken forward. In other words, a 'bottom up' method was used to seek the views of the people of Glastonbury.
A 'Call for Expressions of Interest' process was carried out where people were asked to submit ideas structured according to specific criteria including the Towns' Fund own requirements. As part of this 'Call', we asked for peoples' views about Glastonbury, with exact wording as below:
- Your vision for the Town
- What you think Glastonbury is like now
- What you feel are the main challenges facing the town, including COVID-related
- The town's assets and strengths
- Key opportunities for the town, especially regarding green issues
- What is missing that would enhance Glastonbury?
- What single development would improve the town?
In addition, we distributed a set of 'postcard' sized cards, and we were able to insert a request for information in the Town Council Newsletter that went to most households. There were posts on both the Mendip District Council and Town Council websites. We received around 60 'Expressions of Interest' and over 100 comments by email and telephone and have continued to accept comments whenever they arrive. We also took account of the 267 comments which were posted on the Glastonbury My Town website.
What are the projects that are in the Town Investment Plan?
The Town Investment Plan, comprises 12 projects:-
- Re-developing the Baily's Buildings and bringing them into use for the community, enterprise and educational groups
- Repurposing the Beckery Resource Centre into the Glastonbury Enterprise & Innovation Hub
- Developing The Life Factory for business, learning, young people, and community uses
- Investing in energy generation and transport infrastructure, through Glastonbury Clean Energy
- Developing the Glastonbury Environment Centre
- Creating a year-round visitor destination at St Brigid's Chapel and Field
- Establishing the Glastonbury Food and Regenerative Farming Centre
- Introducing Transport and Travel - Park & Ride with an Electric Bus service
- Delivering the Enabling Project for the Town Investment Plan Regeneration
- Developing the St Dunstan's Community Health and Wellbeing Centre
- Enhancing the approaches and visitor reception facilities at Glastonbury Abbey Piazza
- Developing the Glastonbury Community Sports and Leisure Hub.
Now that the funding offer has been received, can new projects be put forward?
No, the projects outlined in the Town Investment Plan have already been agreed with the government so there is no opportunity to bring new projects forward. That said, the detail within the projects is yet to be finalised, which is why further open day events will be held with the local community as part of the Business Case development process.
Has the detail for each project been confirmed, as outlined in the Town Investment Plan?
No, not yet. Although the projects have been agreed in outline, the details of each are yet to be finalised. The project descriptions in the Town Investment Plan are simply an illustration of how the projects might look, so are very much open to discussion and review. In fact, the identification and appraisal of different options, along with their economic, social and environmental impacts, is a requirement of the government's business case process. Once this initial assessment has been done, open day events will be held with the local community to share concepts and gather feedback. The majority of these events will take place between February and April 2022, with details published on the Glastonbury Town Deal website and social media pages when dates have been confirmed.
How often does the Glastonbury Town Deal Board meet?
The Glastonbury Town Deal Board first met in January 2020, then did not meet again until July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From July 2020, they met monthly online until the end of January 2021 and now meets roughly every six weeks. Minutes of the meetings can be found here: Glastonbury Town Deal Board Meetings and Governance
What has happened so far?
Following the community consultation and Call for Expressions of Interest, the projects that were to be included in the Town Investment Plan were selected in October 2020. The Glastonbury Town Investment Plan was submitted to the government in January 2021, with an application for £24.5m of funding to deliver the projects outlined within it. In June 2021, a Heads of Terms Letter was received with an offer of £23.6m to fund the projects, subject to completion of Business Cases. At the end of July 2021, the Glastonbury Town Deal Board agreed unanimously, having resolved the shortfall, that all projects should go ahead. Confirmation paperwork was submitted to the government at the end of August 2021. The full Business Cases for each project will now be developed and must be submitted by the end of June 2022.
When will we know when projects can proceed?
Every project will need to complete a full HM Treasury 'Green Book' Business Case to secure their funding. The Business Cases for the 12 projects outlined in the Town Investment Plan will be submitted to the government at different times over the coming months, as and when they are complete, so there is not a specific date when we can expect to hear something. Generally speaking, funding is likely to be released for approved projects roughly three months after approval is given. This funding will be released to Mendip District Council, which will be contracting with each project individually.
When will it all be finished?
This will vary from one project to another but, in line with government requirements, all of the funding must be spent by the end of March 2026.
Will you use local businesses/suppliers?
Yes, we are keen to work with local businesses/suppliers and will be building this into the procurement and contracting process for the projects. Procurement terms will require businesses to employ people from the town wherever possible, providing opportunities for local businesses that meet the criteria, as well as other businesses with specialist skills and knowledge that are prepared to invest in local people.
How can businesses/suppliers register interest in getting involved?
Businesses and suppliers interested in working on the Town Deal projects should send their contact details and a summary of their services/skills to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is involved? Is it a council thing?
This initiative is grounded in the local community and, while Mendip District Council is involved as the Accountable Body for the Glastonbury Town Deal, it is very much driven by local people. The Glastonbury Town Deal Board probably includes more local residents than any other in the country, including five local community representatives. Meanwhile the project leaders are predominantly local people with a drive and passion to deliver better facilities and services for their community. Each project has its own team of dedicated volunteers and anyone interested in getting involved is encouraged to get in touch with the Town Deal team in the first instance at email@example.com
Who manages the Glastonbury Town Deal?
Mendip District Council the Accountable Body, which means that it holds the contract with the government and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that things happen as specified within the Grant Funding agreement. The Glastonbury Town Deal Board advises and is an integral part of the process. All key documents are signed off by both Mendip District Council and the Chair of the Glastonbury Town Deal Board.
Who manages the projects?
The overall programme is led by the Programme Manager at Mendip District Council, and each project has a Project Leader and Project Team. All parties will be working together on a Delivery Committee that reports to the Glastonbury Town Deal Board.
What's in it for us?
The Town Deal funding has the potential to revitalise Glastonbury:
- Making it a 'greener', more sustainable town
- Regenerating derelict buildings in a sensitive, sympathetic way
- Creating more employment opportunities for local residents
- Enabling growth opportunities for businesses
- Boosting skills development for people of all ages, including higher level skills
- Enhancing the tourism offer and appeal of the town
- Focusing on the health and wellbeing of local residents
- Providing better services for residents and businesses in the area
- and much more
Is my Council Tax paying for the Glastonbury Town Deal?
No, all of the funding is coming from central government.
Where can we, the citizens of Glastonbury, see the detailed accounts of the money spent thus far?
All funds will eventually flow through Mendip District Council, which is the Accountable Body for any eventual grant allocation. An accountable body generally takes responsibility for the legal and financial management of a grant given to a particular project or projects. MDC's Section 151 Officer oversees the accountable body function. As such, MDC works to government guidance and will eventually be reporting to government and the Glastonbury Town Fund Board.
Some limited prefunding of matters such as architects and project managers is taking place at the moment through MDC to enable the 12 projects to deliver their HM Treasury Green Book Business Cases. The actual grant allocation of £23.6m will not be approved until each project completes this process. Thus, the full grant allocations will not be available until a few months after MDC has received permission for the projects to proceed. We anticipate that the first 'major' funds will arrive in mid 2022.
As well as MDC's role as the Accountable Body, the operation of the Glastonbury Town Deal, including financial, is overseen by the Glastonbury Town Deal Board which will receive detailed financial reporting once the grant allocations start to be received. This reporting will be recorded in the Board minutes which are posted regularly on the MDC website. Please note that some confidential information may necessarily be excluded if it is 'commercial in confidence'. Both MDC and the Glastonbury Town Deal Board are committed to working in an open and transparent manner. Currently, there is simply no information to share.
How will you support the local community?
The projects are being overseen by members of the local community, and there will be many opportunities to engage along the way. The aim is for all parts of the Glastonbury community to benefit from the Town Deal funding.
What are you doing to let people know about the projects?
We are currently collating and creating a range of information for the website, which will include project updates, all the latest news and more. We have a social media presence on Facebook so people can follow us there. We are sharing news and updates with the local print, online and broadcast media. In addition, we plan to run a series of open day events to share information about the individual projects with the local community and collate further feedback as we work through the completion of the Business Cases.
How can I find out more?
Keep an eye on the Glastonbury Town Deal web pages and follow us on Facebook.