Work begins to unlock multi-million regeneration funds for Glastonbury
Mendip District Council has begun work with communities, businesses, key partners and stakeholders in a bid for major Government 'Town Deal' funding for Glastonbury.
A £140,000 Government grant has been released to the Council to kick-start the process of setting up a Glastonbury Town Deal Board, and to start engaging with the local community and businesses to establish the priorities for helping the town to flourish. The government has provided the grant to help ensure there are sufficient funds to resource a major strategic bidding process, and to support further local community and business engagement.
The Board will include representatives from across the public, private and voluntary sectors, and will be chaired by a representative of the local business community. Its function, in consultation with communities, will be to develop a Town Investment Plan for Glastonbury by summer 2020, providing a clear vision for building on the town's unique strengths, and its iconic appeal to visitors from across the world.
Late last year, the Government announced that Mendip District Council would act as the lead local authority in pioneering plans to invest in the town, working in close partnership with Glastonbury Town Council and Somerset County Council. But it's Glastonbury people and local businesses who will be at the centre of the scheme, and they'll decide on how funding could be used to regenerate the area, create new enterprises, new jobs and open up further skills and training opportunities.
Glastonbury was one of 101 places chosen to pioneer Town Deals, and can bid for up to a maximum £25 million. The scheme was designed by Government to 'level up' all parts of the country, by regenerating town centres to boost businesses, improve infrastructure, encourage enterprise and bring communities together.
The Town Deal initiative is different to the Future High Street Fund, which Mendip applied for to support regeneration in Shepton Mallet, but was unsuccessful in the nationally over-subscribed funding competition. The Council will continue to work with Shepton Mallet Town Council and key stakeholders to consider future opportunities for enhancement schemes.
Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke said she was committed to supporting the opportunity for a Glastonbury Town Deal, while recognising that the competitive nature of major capital funding from Government, meant it would require a strong bid to achieve maximum funding.
Cllr Wyke said: "This is the beginning of a process and there is a long way to travel, but we will work together to ensure we achieve maximum opportunities and investment for Glastonbury and its residents."
Jill Barker from Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce said: "This funding represents a really exciting new opportunity to bring our local employers together to explore a range of schemes and initiatives. Glastonbury businesses are very creative and diverse and it will be very important to make sure that we develop a plan which will truly capture the spirit of the town, as well as tackling underlying business and regeneration issues."