Bid to secure £9.2 million funding for Newton Abbot submitted

Following hot on the heels of the £9 million regeneration plans for Ivybridge, as revealed in the last edition of The Moorlander, another of the moor’s gateway towns is seeking to take advantage of the Government’s Future High Street Fund.

Newton Abbot have re-submitted their final plans, without additional car parking at Cricketfield, in order to meet the Government’s £9.2 million grant offer.

Although the Government said that the Council’s original proposals represented a strong value for money business case, it is only offering about two thirds of the funding requested by Teignbridge Council due to the Future High Street Fund being oversubscribed. To get the £9.2 million, scaled back plans needed to be submitted to the Government by Friday, 26th February.

Having reviewed the options, a Town Council briefing was told that dropping the extra Cricketfield car parking was the best way of meeting the Fund’s change criteria, staying within the allocated budget and delivering within the timeframe.

The scaled back plans will still transform the town centre into a more appealing place to visit, boosting footfall and local spending. It will also improve pedestrian and cycling access while keeping open the option of funding the Cricketfield plans in another way at a later date. The Cricketfield proposals were originally included to offset some of the parking spaces displaced from Queen Street that could not be fully met by new spaces planned for nearby Victoria Street. Executive member for Business Economy and Tourism Cllr Nina Jeffries said: “The scaled back proposals prioritise investment to boost economic activity, sustainable travel and air quality in the town.

‘Even with the loss of spaces in Queen Street, there is sufficient parking within town centre car parks and so it is better to push forward with the other aspects of our plans which will encourage people to spend more time in town, boost business for local traders and make Newton Abbot a more attractive visitor destination.”

In reviewing the options the Council considered removing the proposed new cinema plans or scaling back on all aspects of the proposals but was concerned that this would reduce the impact of the plans and not meet the Future High Street Fund goals of reshaping town centres to drive growth, improve experience and ensure sustainability.

Cllr Jeffries added: “Having to scale back our proposals is disappointing but the strength of our plans is shown by the Government’s £9.2 million grant offer which will enable us to help Newton Abbot bounce back from the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

‘We are sorry that the tight timescale has meant that we have not been able to engage with all stakeholders over the scaled back bid but we will work with them at the detailed planning and implementation stages to try and satisfy the range of interest identified in last year’s engagement, which demonstrated overall support for the plans.”

Author: Eric Partridge

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