Bristol TV

Sunrise Sunset
°C
Today
24/01/2022
°C
Tonight
24/01/2022
°C
Tomorrow
25/01/2022
°C
Saturday
26/01/2022
°C
Sunday
27/01/2022
°C
Monday
28/01/2022
°C

SOMERSET: Sedgemoor regeneration round-up

SOMERSET: Sedgemoor regeneration round-up

Cornhill In Bridgwater Town Centre. CREDIT: Google Maps

Both Cheddar and Highbridge could receive funding for regeneration projects if bids to central government are successful.

Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council have been working together (with other partners) to try and secure funding from various government grants to drive forward regeneration efforts in the Sedgemoor area.

Bridgwater has already secured funding from three government funding pots, including a successful bid to the first round of the levelling up fund.

The district council has now hinted that both Cheddar and Highbridge could be next in line, with bids to the next round of levelling up funding being planned for the spring of 2022.

The last two years have seen large sums of money secured for regenerating Bridgwater town centre, as well as major infrastructure projects on the edge of the town.

The town was one of only two in Somerset (the other being Glastonbury) to be short-listed for the government’s towns fund, receiving £22.6m on top of £750,000 of ‘accelerator funding’ for the Northgate site on Mount Street.

In late-October, the county council was awarded more than £10m through the first round of the levelling up fund, for what has been dubbed the ‘Bridgwater Northern Corridor’ scheme.

The scheme will see the Dunball roundabout near Junction 23 of the M5 upgraded, along with improvements to the Cross Rifles roundabout and upgraded cycling links across the town.

Both the Dunball and cycling projects were originally part of the town deal, but were withdrawn after the levelling up bid announcement, freeing up money for the remaining nine town deal projects – including improvements to the Northgate Docks, the Bridgwater Arts Centre and the Engine Room.

In early-November, the county council was informed that it had secured a further £270,300 from the government’s UK community renewal fund (CRF).

This funding is for “site feasibility and design work” for improving the Bridgwater Carnival workshops on the A38 Bristol Road – a further town deal project – and must be spent in its entirety by June 2022.

Nathaniel Lucas, the district council’s service manager for economic development, has clarified that monies allocated to the Bridgwater Carnival facility within the town deal will still be spent on delivering this project.

He said: “The CRF funding will be used to develop the carnival project, thus protecting the capital allocation for the carnival project and thereby meaning that town deal funding can be spent on delivery.

“The CRF announcement does not free up funding for other projects, as it is protecting the allocation for the carnival.”

The district council made a separate CRF for £386,000 towards early work on regenerating Highbridge town centre – but this bid was unsuccessful.

However, councillor Hilary Bruce – who chairs the council’s community scrutiny committee – confirmed in a report published before a full council meeting on December 8 that officers would push forward with a levelling up bid for Highbridge – with Cheddar also being thrown into the mix.

She said in her written report: “Although the Highbridge community renewal fund bid was not successful, the economic development team are looking at other funding possibilities for similar projects.

“Highbridge and Cheddar will also feature in a group of projects going forward next year as part of a levelling up fund bid, with consultants currently looking at putting conceptual ideas into a bid proposal.”

Nick Tait, the council’s service manager for policy, inward investment and growth, teased some initial ideas for the regeneration of Highbridge in August – including:

  • A master-plan encompassing improvements to the B3139 Market Street and Bank Street and the area around Highbridge and Burnham railway station, with an emphasis on leisure and recreation
  • Improving public transport links across the town, as well as integrating the station into a better cycle route linking Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea
  • Improving flood defences, focused around the River Brue and the former boatyard near Clyce Road
  • Developing the former cattle market site on the A38 Huntspill Road
  • Improving community facilities within the Morland estate
  • Upgrading visitor facilities within Apex Park

Bids to the levelling up fund are done on the basis of parliamentary constituency boundaries, rather than those of local authorities – meaning multiple towns from different districts may end up sharing money from any successful bid.

Cheddar and Highbridge both lie within the Wells constituency, which also includes the settlements of Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Street and Wells within the neighbouring Mendip district.

Mendip District Council held a consultation in October over a master-plan for regenerating Shepton Mallet – including proposals for redeveloping the town’s former prison, enhancing the River Sheppey corridor and improved cycle routes across the town, linking up with the Strawberry Line.

Mr Lucas said: “The government announced in the autumn budget that spring 2022 was the date of phase two of the levelling up fund going live.

“We currently have no but no more detail than that and it could be any time between March and June.

“The amount of focus on each settlement is currently been worked through at present as part of the development of the bid.”

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


Watch Live


Watch the channel on TV

7

Freeview

195

Sky

159

Virgin Media