Towns’ Fund Board Update

The Towns’ Fund Board for Glastonbury met on Friday 7 August 2020, primarily to discuss projects put forward for the Accelerator Fund of £500k. Due to the short timescale for this initial process, extensive consultation was not possible at this stage.

This fund was allocated according to the 2011 Census and was offered to Glastonbury in  order to bring forward capital projects that can be delivered in 2020/21. All projects must be based on capital spend and be based on the intervention framework set out in the Towns’ Fund Further guidance which can be found at: https://.gov.uk/government/publications/towns-fund-further-guidance

They were particularly encouraging projects that will support Glastonbury in responding to immediate challenges, including:
• Improvements to or new parks and green spaces and sustainable transport links
• Improvements to town centres repurposing empty commercial properties
• Demolition or site remediation where this will have an immediate benefit

Accordingly, the Board discussed a range of projects on Friday which they, in the main, had put forward after consultation with the parts of the local community that they represent. This was due to the extremely limited timescales involved. A short list was agreed.

Over the next week, this short list will be reviewed by the Section 151 Officer at Mendip District Council for deliverability by end March 2021 and value for money. The long list has already been reviewed so we are not anticipating any issues.

Then the Towns’ Fund Support Team will produce a letter, confirming what Glastonbury proposes to do with the grant, which will be signed by the Chair of the Towns’ Fund Board. This letter will be sent to our Towns’ Hub lead at the Cities and Local Growth Unit by 14 August 2020. They will review the proposals to determine whether or not they meet the criteria above before releasing any funding.

We are not able to reveal the short list of projects until we receive the decision to go ahead or not. Hopefully, we will know the result by September 2020.

Next steps are for the Glastonbury Towns’ Fund Support Team to establish a clear and robust process for the call forward of bids for the full Town Investment Plan and the funding of £24.5m. Again, this fund is mainly for projects based on capital spend. The process for this will include consultation over the next few months and the development of a Town Investment Plan. This plan will be prepared and submitted to the Cities and Local Growth Unit in January 2021.

We will also be establishing a robust communication process based on press releases and using social media.