Posted: 25.09.20 at 14:21 by Tim Lethaby
Glastonbury MP James Heappey says he is "delighted" with the announcement that the town will receive half a million pounds as part of the kickstart funding allocated to towns chosen for the Towns Fund project.
The government's Towns Fund is targeted at areas with a proud heritage which have not always benefitted from economic growth.
The cash will help Glastonbury meet some of the immediate challenges it faces as a result of Covid-19 and invest in projects which will help improve the town centre.
These projects include the establishment of the Life Factory in Building C of the Red Brick Building, refurbishment of Glastonbury town centre, refurbishment of St Edmund's Hall and its grounds, as well as Herbie’s Field improvement and investment into the Glastonbury Ordnance Survey circular walk.
Mr Heappey said: “In what has been a really tough time for everyone, I am delighted to see the Government’s continued commitment to towns like Glastonbury.
"With one of the highest levels of depravation in the South West, this is extremely welcome.
“This accelerated cash from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will ensure refurbishment projects in the town can go ahead, while also allowing for projects to be considered for the Towns Fund pot which is worth up to £25 million.
“I am working closely with the other members of the Town Board to ensure Glastonbury can take full advantage of this huge Government supported opportunity.”
Robert Richards, chair of the Town Deal Board, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to make a massive difference to Glastonbury.”
Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: “These projects which have been brought forward, will make a significant difference to the town and form part of an even bigger vision for Glastonbury.
“These are exciting times. The news is most welcome in the current climate and I look forward to witnessing the progress and regeneration unfold in these communities.”
Details of the projects that have been brought forward for delivery are:
· The Red Brick Building, off the A39 on Street Road, is to receive substantial funding sufficient to enable Building C to be renovated and will on completion provide facilities for business development, youth and wider community events.
· A High Street enhancement programme has identified a number of projects that can be delivered within the timeframe required of this first phase of expenditure. This could involve the installation of covered cycle racks, strategically placed trees in large containers, improved hanging baskets, wrought iron entrance arch to Hanover Square, improved signage and investment in two toilet blocks, including Abbey Park.
· St Edmund's Hall in the Windmill Hill community requires refurbishment. The intention is to install a proper catering kitchen and revamp the garden. A much needed barrier will be installed at the entrance to the car park to prevent access by high sided vehicles.
· Included is the provision of community parking facilities at Herbies Field, off Northload Bridge. This project, once completed, will reduce the impact of event parking on the town and provide a suitable venue for Tor Fair to return.
· A circular seven-mile footpath which is identified by Ordnance Survey as among the best in the country is to receive a makeover. Incorporating the Pilgrim’s Way, this path takes in parts of the Somerset Levels, Wearyall Hill, the Tor, and offers expansive views. The intention of this Conservation Society-driven project is to improve the access, install interpretation and living history signage boards.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Our Towns Fund will help to share prosperity across the country and level-up.
"This £80 million funding for immediate investment is a real boost for our towns and will help them thrive with investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.
“It will give towns across the opportunity to drive economic growth and improve prospects for their communities, which will be vital as the country respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We are fully behind our high streets and will support local areas to build back better.”