Council backs communities to revitalise their town centres

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Four towns across Cornwall are developing plans to revitalise their high streets after receiving grants from the Council’s Town Centre Revitalisation Fund (TCRF).

Camelford, Helston, Liskeard and Torpoint will each receive a grant of up to £100,000 to develop plans to support economic, social and environmental improvements to benefit residents and businesses.

The funding, which will come from the Town Vitality Fund strand of the Town Centre Revitalisation Fund, will support:

  • Helston - £100,000 to support proposals to refurbish Helston’s Market Place and Drill Hall Yard, and potentially creating an outdoor event space in that area; measures to promote the conversion of empty high street premises for residential and workspace use; plans to improve transport connectivity around Helston; as well as improvements to pavements, paths, traffic flow and cycle ways in the town.
  • Torpoint – £50,000 to develop plans for the regeneration of Lower Fore Street, including design and feasibility studies, as well commercial advice and bid writing.
  • Liskeard - £50,000 to fund an active travel feasibility study to develop and consult on plans for cycle, walking and bus improvements. The proposals include looking at potential locations for a cycle hub which will improve cycle connectivity around the town and link in with the proposed Looe Valley Trail project. The improvement of pedestrian and cycle facilities in the town to support the economy and bring environmental, health, and wellbeing benefits.
  • Camelford - £7,000 to form a town team to develop a town vision/strategy which will lay the foundations for future regeneration projects.

The Council set up a £4m Town Centre Revitalisation Fund (TCRF) in February 2020 in response to the findings of its Vitality of High Streets Inquiry, which heard evidence on the economic challenges faced by Cornwall’s high streets.

To combat these challenges, including empty shops and reduced footfall due to changing shopping habits, the TCRF aims to support town vitality and prosperity by encouraging communities to form partnerships and develop investment proposals.

Of this £4m, £1m was set aside for the Town Vitality Fund – to support town partnerships to develop plans to improve their Town Centres.

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning, said: “Communities across Cornwall will have ideas about how they can breathe new life into their high streets and improve the future for their residents. But for these ideas to become a reality they need to be backed up with research, planning and consultation – expensive activities that many communities can’t afford without support.

“We set up this fund to act as the catalyst for change – helping towns to rethink their centres by working up truly deliverable projects for future investment that will improve town centre vitality, making them places where the community want to live and work.”

Mayor of Liskeard, Rachel Brooks, said; “During the first lockdown there were fewer cars and lots of people, including families with children, enjoyed coming out on their bikes.  We also know that communities are healthier where people can easily shop and get to school and work by bike or on foot.  This is about giving people more choices about how to travel and to help locals and visitors enjoy our town and the surrounding countryside.”

Rob Rotchell, Mayor of Camelford, said: “Camelford Town Council were delighted to receive £7,000 from the Town Centre Revitalisation Fund, to develop a town vision/strategy which will lay the foundations for future regeneration projects. This funding has secured the invaluable expertise of Matt Baker (Rise Associates and Co-author of the “Grimsey Review”) and Bill Grimsey (former CEO of Wickes and author of Grimsey Review and Grimsey COVID-19 Supplement) to guide and enable the team to see Camelford afresh, explore new ideas and opportunities, overcome challenges and come out of the pandemic stronger.”

Helston Mayor John Martin and Cornwall Councillor Mike Thomas said in a joint statement: “We’re delighted that Helston has been able to secure this funding and thank Cornwall Council for their support. The Helston team has worked extremely hard to develop a strong 'Place Shaping Plan’ for our town which will address important issues and bring much needed vitality back to the town centre: we’re all grateful for their dedication. This is only the first step and we're certain that with strong projects on the table, the capital resources we need will follow.”

Chris Goodman, Mayor of Torpoint, said: “This funding will enable the opportunity to progress development at Lower Fore Street, enhancing the Gateway to Cornwall, importantly meeting the needs of our local businesses and the community.”

Gary Davis, Cornwall Councillor for Torpoint East, who also sits on the town council, said: “This investment in Torpoint will enable planning for the regeneration of the site, at a unique and prime location at the southern end of town overlooking the approach to the River Tamar. The site represents a key location on the waterfront transport connectivity and securing Town Vitality Funding will enable redevelopment opportunities to be realised.”

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