At a recent meeting on the 24th January 12 business owners came together to support a campaign to apply for the Governments new £675M Future High Street Fund.
The Government Launched this fund with this statement:
This government is committed to helping more high streets adapt and meet changing expectations; not just to survive, but to thrive. This is why we launched Our Plan for the High Street in autumn with a fund of £675m. Our Plan for the High Street includes a cut in business rates by up to a third for a wide range of retail properties for two years, a consultation on planning reform to make it simpler to create more homes, jobs and choice in our town centres, and the creation of a High Streets Task Force.
The Future High Streets Fund is an essential part of Our Plan for the High Street, providing co-funding towards capital projects that bring transformative change. We want to see the regeneration of our town centres through innovative proposals around transport, housing delivery and our public services.
This fund will be aimed at several critical areas to help our high streets and they summarise their plans as follows:
- cutting business rates by a third for up to 90% of retail properties for two years, to provide upfront support for high streets;
- supporting the transformation of the high street, by creating a £675 million Future High Streets Fund to help local areas make their high streets and town centres fit for the future;
- consulting on planning reform to make it simpler to create more homes, jobs and choice in town centres, and trialling a register of empty shops;
- setting up a High Streets Task Force which will support local leadership with expert advice on helping local high streets to adapt and thrive; and
- strengthening community assets, including the restoration of the historic buildings that make our high streets special, supporting community groups to use empty properties and providing business rates relief for public toilets and local newspapers.
As we described in a previous post http://dartbusinessnews.org/show-me-the-money/ Town centers must get their applications for funding in by the 22nd March 2019. That gives us very little time to complete a comprehensive application that stand a good chance of getting through this first stage. This first phase is a competition and only the best cases for investment will get past this stage.
We have started gathering views on what we could invest in with between £5M and £10M to make a real difference to Dartmouth’s town centre and this is our initial list of ideas:
- Develop an extra storey on the Mayors Avenue car park adding up to 250 spaces. Facing of car park to reproduce housing facades to blend in with adjacent housing. Justification will be loss of parking at the park and ride due to Health Centre development taking up most of the Park & Ride space.
- Mass transit system between the upper town and lower town. Justification for this would be the development of 450 houses at the top of town will split the community unless the transport infrastructure is enhanced to link the two areas of habitation.
- Either a cable car system
- Or a road train or tram system.
- Glass roof on whole Market Square to provide all weather community space.
- Covered area on the North and South embankment together with a planning allowance for businesses to allocate spaces on the embankment. This is seen in many continental locations.
- Extension to Dartmouth Visitor Centre to contain Mayflower 400 exhibit.
- Pedestrianise the town centre in conjunction with a new parking scheme (by Coronation Park or Mayors Avenue).
- Parking area on piles over the river adjacent to the Higher Ferry as previously considered.
Once we have gathered all of the ideas for investments we will be putting these ideas to the community through an online survey.
If you have some ideas of your own on how you would enhance Dartmouth’s Town Centre offer if you had a few £million to spend, then please comment at the bottom of this page and we will incorporate your ideas into our survey.