Tewkesbury Borough Council has been successful in its bid for a share of £95m of government funding, after achieving ‘High Streets Heritage Action Zone’ status - and the funds will go directly towards bringing new life into the high street.
£2m of funding was bid for by the borough council and work will now begin with Historic England to develop the plans and the budget required.
The borough council plans to pour the money received into a range of projects, which will collectively regenerate the town through investment into its historic fabric.
The announcement comes just weeks after Tewkesbury and its surrounding area was revealed as one of only a handful of locations in the country to be awarded the government’s Garden Town status.
The drive to submit the bid followed the adoption of the borough council’s Tewkesbury Town Supplementary Planning Document (SDP), which sets out the general planning aspirations for the town centre and was developed alongside the town council and other partners.
The aspirations within the SPD include works to improve the public realm and open spaces, improving links from the high street to the river, making improvements to shopfronts and helping to facilitate the revival of some of the town’s historic buildings such as Healings Mill.
Healings Mill is a key site in the town’s historic regeneration and, in partnership with the owners, the types of actions envisaged for Healings Mill and Quay Street include:
- Commissioning technical studies such as flood remediation, contamination, structural potential, community need and viability, and associated development surveys to help bring this site back to use and become a destination
- Commissioning and creating a clear development brief for the site
- Supporting community consultation and engagement
In addition, the council aims to improve the experience and legibility of the pedestrian route from the Abbey through the high street to the north end linking through Quay Street to Healings Mill. The work required includes commissioning studies and acting on recommendations for:
- Improvements to public realm (pavement widening, shared space, hard landscaping, street furniture, decluttering)
- Interpretation and signposting of the historic environment
- Improvements to shopfronts
- Fabric repairs and redecoration
- Promotion of living above historic shops
- Installation of public art (local artists and the community commemorating aspects of the history of the town)
- Promotion of the use of traditional building materials and techniques
- Improvements to alleys leading onto the High Street and Church Street
These projects will individually, and collectively, help to bring about positive improvements to the town centre and make the town a more attractive place for business investment and tourists.
The next steps for the council will be to work with Historic England and with its partners through the Tewkesbury Town Regeneration Partnership to develop their plans.
Mel Gore, Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Lead Member for Built Environment said, “Tewkesbury Town is a beautiful town with a wealth of culture and history along with many historic buildings, we also believe it has a great future with fantastic unrivalled opportunity. We are delighted to be successful in this bid which allows us to realise that opportunity and together with partners we are excited about delivering this project.”
Elaine MacTiernan Chair of Tewkesbury Town Regeneration Partnership said, “This is fantastic news, Tewkesbury Town has so many opportunities and we look forward to working with partners to drive forward some exciting key projects to help the town fully realise its potential.”