Monday, July 6, 2020

Future High Streets funding bid submitted for Coalville

The next step towards generating substantial funding for Coalville town centre has been taken after a business case was submitted this week to the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.

At the end of last year, North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) was selected as one of fifty local authorities through to the second round of the Future High Streets Fund, which could see substantial funding allocated to the regeneration of Coalville town centre.

The fund allows for up to £25 million be awarded to towns, with Coalville’s bid – if successful – possibly in line to receive in the region of between £11 million and £16 million

The £1 billion Future High Streets Fund has been set up by the Government to support and fund local areas’ plans to make their high streets and town centres fit for the future.

The submitted business case outlines that funding would target the following themes and priorities:

–        Improve the connectivity and flow of the town centre through changes to the infrastructure, roads and accessibility

–        Make the town centre greener, sustainable and more environmentally friendly

–        Regenerate land and buildings in the town and improve the visual look and feel of the centre

–        Bring more people into the town centre to live, work, shop and spend leisure time

–        Make the town more pedestrian and cycling friendly and less reliant on the car

–        Bring a cinema to Coalville

The business case has been supported by Leicestershire County Council and put together following consultation with elected members, private landowners, the Coalville Heritage Society, Coalville Community Action Group, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and the National Forest and using data gathered at Coalville community drop-ins held earlier in 2019, where members of the public shared their views on the town’s future.

The bid itself contains a substantial depth of detail and identifies potential buildings and land for improvement or development, and the key partners that would need to be part of the regeneration should the bid be successful. This level of detail is currently commercially sensitive as a fully unveiled bid now could hamper the council’s ability to implement these plans should the bid be successful.

The Government has not yet confirmed precisely when a decision will be made on the funding bids although an announcement is expected as some point in the Autumn.

The regeneration of Coalville is a corporate priority for NWLDC, which has seen over £2.3 million invested or allocated since 2015, including the soon-to-be completed new indoor market, plans for a redesigned public space in Marlborough Square, new events and an extension of its business frontage grants scheme, as well as a £23 million leisure centre.

Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of NWLDC, said: “The submission of this business case, despite the backdrop of covid-19, shows our determination to keep Coalville regeneration at the forefront of our minds regardless of the challenges we all currently face.

“Our short-term priorities continue to be to support our businesses in this difficult time through the grants we’re issuing and the support we’re offering – but our long-term ambitions are also now more important than ever.

“The way we use and enjoy town centres is changing and the events of the past few months will likely change them still further, and there’s no doubt a successful Future High Street Fund bid would be a timely boost for Coalville.

“We now hope that the Government will look at our bid and allocate funding that will make a real difference to the town.”

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said: “The district council has put together an excellent bid for the Future High Street Fund which brings in substantial private sector investment and has the potential to transform Coalville, making it a great place to shop, live and spend leisure time.

“I think we have a strong case to put to Government and I will do all I can to assist with this and see that Ministers recognise the benefits this scheme will have for our town.”

Councillor Trevor Pendleton, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The combination of projects will help to enhance the quality of place, experience and enjoyment of the town centre, while improving pedestrian and cycle links.

“We will continue to support NWLDC through the process as the highway authority and help to address any highway impact concerns throughout. Working with NWLDC on these schemes will help deliver their aspirations and unlock the potential of Coalville.”

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