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HAVE YOUR SAY: Glastonbury Town Deal public meetings

HAVE YOUR SAY: Glastonbury Town Deal public meetings

View of Glastonbury, Image: LDRS

A series of public meetings will be held in Glastonbury later this year, giving residents a chance to have their say about plans to regenerate their town.

Glastonbury is one of 101 towns which has secured funding from the government’s towns fund, with £23.6M being secured for a dozen projects ot revitalise the town centre.

Mendip District Council and its partners on the Glastonbury town deal board are currently putting together detailed business cases for each of the projects, with the funding having to be spent by the end of March 2026.

The council has now confirmed its intention to hold public meetings in the run-up to Christmas, giving residents input and information about how their town will change in the months and years ahead.

Councillor Liz Leyshon, portfolio holder for corporate services and projects, made the announcement at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday evening (September 6).

She said: “The intention from the government is that the monies are spent by the end of March 2026. That’s quite soon, so it means at some rapid pace.

“My understand is that government monies can be drawn down for individual projects as and when they’re ready with their business case, rather than having to wait for all of them to be ready.

“There are huge amounts of work going on – there are public meetings coming up now for each project. It is going to be a very, very busy time.”

Glastonbury is one of only two towns in Somerset which will receive money from the towns fund – the other being Bridgwater.

The 12 projects being taken forward in the town deal are as follows:

  1. Regeneration of the Baily’s Buildings into a zero-carbon hub for local businesses, housing the Glastonbury Environment Centre (see below) and a new visitor’s centre which celebrates the town’s industrial heritage
  2. An enterprise and innovation centre in Beckery House, which will include space for food manufacturing and digital skills training
  3. Completion of the work on The Red Brick Building C, delivering dedicated facilities for artisans, musicians and performers as well as an upgraded base for Glastonbury FM
  4. The Glastonbury Clean Energy project spearheaded by Avalon Community Energy, creating “self-financing green jobs” through solar panel installations and reinvesting profits into the community
  5. The Glastonbury Environment Centre within the Baily’s Buildings, providing a gateway to the Avalon Marshes
  6. Renovation of St Brigid’s Chapel and Field , making it easier to access the site as part of the town’s tourist trail and bringing its unique heritage to life
  7. The Food and Regenerative Farming Centre , re-purposing 23 acres of under-used pasture land and buildings to educate locals and provide locally grown food for businesses in the town
  8. New park and ride service to reduce town centre traffic, making it easier for visitors to the area and boosting the night-time economy
  9. Phosphate mitigation and providing traveller sites , including improvements to the town’s sewage treatment facility managed by Wessex Water and securing a new local site for the traveller community
  10. Regeneration of St Dunstan’s House as a town hub , providing a base for community groups to host a range of activities in a covid-secure space
  11. Renovating the entrance to Glastonbury Abbey through a new open piazza space, upgrading the existing shop and ticket offices and demolishing the “inadequate”
  12. Improvements to the Tor Leisure Centre site , relocating Glastonbury FC, providing a new clubhouse and an all-weather pitch that can also support field hockey, tennis and netball, along with a new bowling green

The council will have until late-June 2022 to finalise business cases for each of the 12 town deal projects, as well as an overall business case covering the entire programme.

The dates for the public meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.

Robert Richards, chairman of the town deal board, said: “The town deal investment offers an amazing opportunity for Glastonbury.

“Now that the confirmation paperwork has been submitted, we can move on to the next stage of the process, working on the detail of the 12 projects.

“We are looking forward to engaging with local residents and businesses about this over the coming months and are keen to make sure this once-in-a-generation investment delivers benefits for the Glastonbury community as a whole.”

In addition to the Glastonbury town deal, the council is currently putting together two bids to the government’s levelling up fund.

 

One bid will be with Sedgemoor District Council (covering the Wells constituency) and could focus on Highbridge town centre, with partners bidding for up to £20M.

The other will be in conjunction with South Somerset District Council (covering the Somerton and Frome constituency) and could include money for the ‘western warehouse’ arts venue planned within the Saxonvale regeneration site in Frome.

Ms Leyshon said: “If you had those three capital programmes up, they come to more than three years of revenue funding for the Mendip area.

“They are really significant for a council this size, and there are within them some fantastic opportunities that help us become fairer and greener, and which will give us opportunities to protect and enhance our towns and rural communities.”

 

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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