Government’s ‘town fund’ helps three projects
Torbay Council is getting £750,000 to start regeneration projects in Torquay.
The government announced the cash from its Town Deal programme so the council can bring forward schemes from its town investment plan. The document was submitted to the government in July with £25 million worth of projects.The council says the accelerated funding will allow it make a start on some of the work ahead of a decision on the full bid expected in eight weeks.
The accelerated schemes include:
- investment for Upton Park which will bring a variety of social benefits to the community and ensure residents and visitors are able to make best use of the parks location;
- improving Princess Gardens, which is a location of strategic importance and has fantastic links to Torquay train station and the town centre. Improvements will provide better access, an event space and planting. Ideas also include Princess Gardens as a location for electric bike hire, improving access to all areas and helping develop a thriving community;
- investment to Rock Walk, which includes improving the illuminations along the sea front with more creative lighting year-round. Also potential link ups with Abbey Gardens and Princess Gardens to encourage more people to connect with the seafront, draw people to walk/cycle between and visit these different locations and offer a boost to night-time economy.
The regeneration schemes focus on the town centre and includes links to a proposed new rail station at Edginswell, near Torbay Hospital.
Investments can cover local transport, digital connectivity, urban regeneration, planning and land use, and arts, culture and heritage. The government announced 101 towns will share £80 million of accelerated funding, with each receiving between £500,000 and £1 million.
The council’s deputy leader Darren Cowell said: “Today’s announcement recognises the efforts that we are making, with partners, to build ambitious plans for Torquay. Focusing on a transformation of Torquay’s town centre through innovative regeneration we will build a prosperous future for the town.”
Councillor Swithin Long, cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing, said: “This accelerated funding has come at a time when it has been hugely challenging for our community and having the funds to start work on these projects will help us make an immediate impact.”
The council says the town investment plan addresses challenges at key locations, including Torquay Pavilion, and improving transport connections by supporting proposals for a new Edginswell Rail station. The total development cost of the projects in the Plan is an estimated £135 million.
Vince Flower, chairman of the town board, said: “This announcement gives Torquay the opportunity to start to deliver the town investment plan. The projects we have identified to receive accelerated funding will help support the growth and recovery of the town during the pandemic.
“The impact of covid-19 makes these investments more important than ever and more important that Government continues to support Torquay when it makes a decision on the full programme set out in the Investment Plan.”
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.”