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SWT secures Future High Streets funding

19 May 2021 : Council news, Planning and development

Somerset West and Taunton Council has been awarded just under £14m to help deliver its ambitious proposals to transform our high streets into vibrant hubs for future generations.

Confirmation of the funding was made today by the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

The award of £13.9m from the Future High Streets Fund will be used for Active Travel links in Taunton town centre including cycle and pedestrian improvements, as well as contributing towards to the redevelopment of Coal Orchard and Firepool.

The award includes a specific allocation towards an outdoor performance space (amphitheatre) at Firepool which is part of the original public realm design for the site, and is in addition to the multi-purpose venue proposal that is subject to ongoing feasibility studies and discussion.

The Council has been working with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to review and prioritise the projects after the provisional offer was made representing 69% of the original bid for £20.2m of funding.

Leader of SWT, Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, said: “I am delighted that we have secured this funding which represents a real opportunity to enhance our retail environment and realise our aspirations for growth, creating a place where people want to live, work and shop.

“The award will enable the delivery of our ambitious regeneration plans, helping to protect and create jobs, and deliver opportunities and prosperity to our communities.”

The news has been welcomed by Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow who has championed the case for SWT. She said: “I warmly welcome the news that Taunton will receive almost £14 million of Government funding from the Future High Streets Fund.

“I have worked hard locally with stakeholders to help secure this funding and after what has been an incredibly challenging year, this investment will help our town centres build back better and make them a more attractive place to live, work and visit as we recover from the pandemic.”

The Future High Streets Fund was launched in December 2018 and is a key part of the Government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres, driving long term growth. Further details can be found at Future High Streets Fund - GOV.UK