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Agenda item

Trowbridge Future High Streets Fund: in-principle offer

Report of the Chief Executive.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Heritage, Arts & Tourism, Housing and Communities introduced the report which provided an update on the in-principle offer received from  MHCLG in relation to the Trowbridge Future High Streets Fund business case.

 

Cllr Clewer reported that following the submission of the Future High Streets Fund Trowbridge business case in August 2020, MHCLG has made Wiltshire Council an in-principle offer of up to 69% of the original ask, amounting to £16,347,056. The report detailed the proposed response to secure the maximum funding available and shows that the projects developed to date remain deliverable with some adjustments.

 

It was noted that Cllr Bob Jones MBE, Vice-Chair of the Environment Select Committee, he had received a briefing of the issues on 29 January 2021 and supported the project and proposals in the report.

 

Comments from members included:

 

·       The project is welcomed, and reassurances noted for the delivery of all aspects of the project with reduced funding.

·       The need for Cabinet and officers to secure additional funding to achieve the delivery of all elements of the project, especially the leisure facilities.

·       Involvement of local Council members in the early stages of the project, along with residents and the Town Council at the appropriate stages.

·       The need for an appropriate transport management plan especially for car parking.

 

Resolved:

 

·       Agrees the contents of this report.

 

·       Delegates authority to the Chief Executive - in consultation with the Director for Economic Development and Planning, and Legal, Electoral and Registration Services and the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Military-Civilian Integration and Communications to approve and submit the Trowbridge Future High Streets Fund response to the in-principle offer to MHCLG as well as accepting the grant.

 

·       Delegates authority to develop individual workstreams within the business case and the response to the in-principle offer to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Director for Economic Development and Planning, the Director for Legal, Electoral and Registration Services and the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Military-Civilian Integration and Communications.

 

Reason for decision:

 

Trowbridge Town Centre has been negatively affected by a number of factors

over a long period of time, resulting in a significant decline of the vitality,

attractiveness and perception of the town centre. This has manifested in the

following market failures:

 

·       a significant lack of activity and diversity of offer in the town centre core;

·       many of the town’s most unique assets are in need of urgent repair, resulting in these being vacant or significantly underused for c10 years;

·       a lack of development within the town centre core, particularly of key sites adjacent to the town’s unique natural assets like the River Biss;

·       a disjointed experience with poor linkages between the retail core and new developments, the railway station, major employment sites and car parks.

 

This has contributed to the evident decline of the town centre and continues to

severely threaten its long-term viability.

 

Trowbridge has the chance through this funding to significantly reposition itself.

 

Key outcomes following securing funding could include:

 

·       Improving connections and legibility into the town centre

·       Transforming the gateway experience

·       Bringing more leisure, residential and culture activity into the town centre

·       Making better use of vacant units to enable a diverse and sustainable mix of uses within Trowbridge Town Centre

·       Accelerating future development by facilitating the strategic development of key sites within the town centre core

·       A successful allocation of FHSF will enable Wiltshire Council to work with partners to initiate that process and attract in other public and private sector funding to rejuvenate the town.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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