Melton Borough Council has worked with its public and private sector partners to submit a Levelling Up Fund bid to the government for just under £10m to develop three key sites in the Melton town centre.
The bid includes a package of three complimentary projects contributing towards enhancing the Rural Capital of Food offer and bringing in more visitors to the town by creating destinations for a wide range of audiences to visit and enjoy.
These projects include the development of the cattle market site for events, food and drinks production units and supporting business and tourism related activities; development of the Brooksby Melton College site on Wilton Road/Asfordby Road, for the refurbishment of the public theatre to reinstate the, now closed, cultural destination in the town centre and enhance the night time offer; and development of the old Brooksby College training centre site on King Street for refurbishment of the long term vacant building to convert it into food production, training and workshop facility.
If the funding is secured the development of these projects are expected to lead to the creation of an additional 139 jobs in the wider economy, support the development of an additional 3,000 sqm of employment, educational and cultural space, lead to an additional 240,000 town centre visits per annum and create £7.4m in additional visitor spend within the town centre area per year.
Cllr Leigh Higgins, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Growth and Prosperity, said: “This funding will allow us to enhance and take us to a new level, in an ever competitive and changing market, for Melton as the Rural Capital of Food.
“By developing some key sites in the town, Melton will improve training and employment opportunities in this sector as well as enhance on the important night time offer. It is important to now look to reach out to new customers and investors looking for a wider offer which Melton can provide a unique experience regionally.
“Our mutual aim is to boost the town’s economy and attract more tourism to the borough. Increasing footfall and, more importantly, discretionary spend in our area is a key aim to help secure private investment, new businesses and jobs for our long term future.”
John Southerington, Chairman of Feoffees at Melton Mowbray Town Estate, said: “We believe this initiative will increase the vitality, vibrancy, footfall and spend in the town centre, to create optimism in the town, it will also act as a connecting fabric to enhance the Melton Mowbray experience through the High Street and Market Place.”
Dawn Whitemore, CEO and Principal of Brooksby Melton College, said: “Melton Mowbray is one of just a few places synonymous with a particular food product, building on the heritage of the Pork Pie and Stilton Cheese and adopting a strategy that links the production of food and drink with tourism and education will grow and promote Melton’s unique food heritage whilst building an event calendar and promoting the town’s lesser known exports like Stilton, gin and cordials.”
Hugh Brown, CEO of Melton Mowbray Market, said: “As the largest town centre market in the country, we already have a well-established farmers market, an award-winning brewery and are home to many food & drink events. The levelling up funding will turbo charge this development for the benefit of new and existing traders, visitors and the wider town.”