Cornwall’s bid to secure an allocation from the national £675m high street fund moved a step closer this week when Penzance was confirmed by Cornwall Council as the focus for its bid to Government.
Launched on the 26 December 2018, the Future High Streets Fund is key part of the Government’s plan for the High Street, providing co-funding towards capital projects that transform and regenerate town centres through innovative proposals around transport, housing delivery and our public services.
The Government’s criteria only allows one bid from each Local Authority area. Their direction is focused on clear objectives for High Streets that are facing significant challenges so Cornwall Council invited approaches through Town Councils with their partners which could maximise impact.
Penzance is being put forward by the Council due to the unique mix of regeneration opportunities available to tackle these challenges in the town and has been supported by local partners and stakeholders, the Penzance Place Shaping Board and Regeneration Group, businesses and community organisations. It is likely to be a very competitive process and therefore we are backing a proposal that we hope meets all of the criteria.
Proposals for workspace, housing, connectivity, transport, skills and inclusion activity will be considered over the coming weeks to prepare the submission by March 22nd.
Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning and the Economy Bob Egerton said: “The High Streets Fund provides one opportunity to attract funding to Cornwall that will facilitate the delivery of regeneration projects.
“The Penzance proposal is backed by extensive local support through and with the leadership of the Penzance Place Shaping Board. While we are disappointed that we are only able to support one town in this first round of bidding, I am sure that Cornwall will get behind the Penzance bid to ensure that rural areas get their fair share of funding.”
Derek Thomas MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives) said: “This exciting opportunity for Penzance will provide an important catalyst to ensure viability and vitality for our high street and promote much needed growth, jobs and skills provision for the whole town and beyond. Penzance is not short of ambition and aspiration and it is to the credit of a number of people here in West Cornwall that the Government has heard our plea and created the High St Fund. There is now a renewed opportunity for the community, businesses and organisations to come together to develop joined up proposals that will pave the way for future prosperity”.
Martin Tucker, Chair of the Penzance Place Shaping Board said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Penzance and one in which all agencies can cooperate to develop a bid that both revitalises and inspires our high street to meet the needs of both local people and the many visitors to West Cornwall.
The support shown by Cornwall Council in recommending the town is a huge boost and the challenge is now to present an expression of interest to central government that is difficult for them not to support.”
Glenn Caplin, CEO of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Service Director for Economic Growth said “Vibrant town centres are a place where business and community meet, jobs are created, businesses grow and prosperity is secured. However, the way that we use high streets is changing. We are supportive of all efforts to adapt to these changes and were impressed by the quality and innovation shown by towns that wanted the opportunity to bid for this fund. Whilst we are only able to take one forward at this time, we will continue to work with all towns in Cornwall to explore other opportunities that will help them deliver their vision”.
The Council will now work with partners, stakeholders and businesses in Penzance to submit an expression of interest to Government by 22 March 2019.